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Currently under construction on the island of Curaçao, the deluxe houses are set to be luxuriously-appointed, with open office spaces, as well as an integrated patio and villa. By building them under the ‘Lyve by CyBe’ label, the companies aim to demonstrate 3D printing’s design freedom, cost and lead time benefits, plus its potential as a means of addressing the world’s rising housing shortages.
“It is increasingly difficult to build affordably. Thanks to 3D concrete printing, in combination with ‘Lyve by CyBe’ housing design, we can solve this problem,” said Berry Hendriks, CEO & Founder of CyBe Construction. “As an experienced knowledge leader and technology provider with 3D concrete printers in every continent, we have been able to add BiB as a solid and progressive partner for the Caribbean.”
CyBe’s architectural ambitions
Since 2013, CyBe has built up a strong portfolio of design, engineering and construction services around its proprietary concrete 3D printing technology. The benefits of the firm’s approach largely stem from its ‘CyBe MORTAR’ building material, which contains very low chloride and sulphate content, allowing it to set in just one hour, and it has around 32% less integrated CO2 than portland cement.
To deposit its eco-friendly cement, CyBe also markets both fixed and mobile 3D printers. While the former ‘R 3Dp’ features an ABB robotic arm attached to a metal frame that allows researchers to erect prototype structures, the latter ‘RC 3Dp’ sits on a crawler, enabling it to be moved and deployed in multiple locations within end-use construction applications.
In the past, these have been used to build everything from a Dubai drone building factory to French 3D printed houses in the commune of Croix, and the company has committed to UAE-based construction too, with the aim of helping the emirate meet its lofty ambition of additive manufacturing 25% of its homes by 2030.
More recently, CyBe has formed a partnership with Janssen de Jong’s subsidiary BIB, a firm with more than 80 years’ specialist concrete experience, in which it’s now seeking to showcase the benefits of its approach in the Caribbean for the first time.
Building begins in the West Indies
As part of its collaboration with BIB, CyBe shipped one of its 3D printers out to Curaçao at the end of September 2021, where three of BIB’s engineers have begun being trained in how to use it effectively. During this orientation, the team have also started constructing their two prototype buildings complete with patio and villa, which are designed to serve as an office space and café for locals respectively.
In keeping with its ‘Lyve by Cybe’ design philosophy, CyBe hopes that erecting these structures in Curaçao’s capital Willemstad, will help prove its technology’s potential for meeting the world’s growing demand for affordable housing.
“The housing shortage is a global problem which is being mainly solved locally,” says CyBe via its website. “Along with the housing shortage, there is currently also a resource shortage and skilled labor shortage. In the light of these problems, a completely different approach to how construction is organized and works is crucial. This means no longer taking a fragmented, but a holistic approach.”
In the case of its Caribbean project, CyBe has sought to put this concept into practise, by working with BIB to come up with a business case for replacing local construction processes with 3D printing. One way the companies have sought to achieve this, is by adopting one of CyBe’s premade floor plans, which are optimized for speedy and affordable production, and can’t be built using conventional building methods.
The company also estimates that its approach enables adopters to reduce their overhead costs by 15-20% per project, due to the automation and efficiency of its construction technologies, thus it says that they have the potential to help tackle the raw material and labour shortages causing housing problems in the first place.
On the island of Curaçao, meanwhile, Janssen de Jong Curaçao & Bonaire’s Kurt Verbist, says that the arrival of CyBe 3D printing there will “make affordable and modern living possible for the population,” while BIB’s General Manager Angelo Bonevacia anticipates it will enable the firm “to serve a new segment in the market.”
Once completed, the two Caribbean houses are expected to be followed by a third which is currently being designed by CyBe, and is set to function as a ‘unique office space.’ Moving forwards, the companies haven’t ruled out further construction projects either, with CyBe stating that their partnership could “soon lead to more designs and buildings.”
3D printing low-cost buildings
Although construction 3D printing remains a niche sector, and the technology isn’t yet applied to erect housing en-masse, its adoption as a more affordable building technique continues to spread around the world.
Earlier this year, experienced construction 3D printing firm COBOD worked with 14Trees to build an entire school for students in need, in the African nation of Malawi. Taking just 18 hours to print, the structure is designed to exhibit the technology’s potential for addressing the country’s infrastructure shortage, and its success could see similar schools being built in Kenya and Zimbabwe as well.
Likewise, LafargeHolcim’s Zimbabwean subsidiary has announced plans of its own to build affordable, low-carbon homes in the country using its concrete 3D printing approach. In doing so, the company aims to help meet Zimbabwe’s housing crisis while reducing the carbon footprint of any resulting structures by as much as 70%.
In the past, ICON has also done its bit to help those in need in Latin America, by working with Fuseproject and New Story to 3D print houses for the homeless back in 2019. Described at the time as the ‘world’s first 3D printed housing community,’ the 120 m2 buildings were specifically designed for low-income families.
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Featured image shows CyBe’s first Caribbean 3D printed building, complete with café. Photo via CyBe.