3D printing has become a buzzword within construction for its potential to automate what is, traditionally, a labor-intensive process. Moreover, additive manufacturing provides architects with new possibilities in materials and design, encouraging structures built with little environmental impact, and low material cost.
Recently, Homed, a project seeking to provide shelter for New York’s growing homeless population, attracted the attention of a number of news outlets for its innovative proposal using 3D printing to re-purpose the city’s inactive “vertical lots.”
Styled as a connected stack of honeycomb pods, Homed shelters present an aesthetic, configurable, and potentially translatable helping-hand for people severely in need of help. But the idea can’t possibly solve the crisis alone.
3D Printing Industry speaks to Andreas A. Tjeldflaat, Founder and Design Director of the agency behind Homed, to learn more.
An introduction of Framlab
Framlab was founded by Tjeldflaat, a Norweigan designer, as an exploration of design and architecture. Homed is currently one of 9 projects in development by Tjeldflaat, all of which are located within New York City.
Tjeldflaat’s vision for Homed is to create a number of self-contained units that can be added to space between and behind buildings scattered around the city.
As he explains, “The project is in many ways a momentously ambitious proposal,”
“It carries with it a plethora of complex challenges, and require participation from a broad range of actors; city officials, land- and building owners, homeless service providers, construction companies to name a few.”
A hive around a 3D printed core
Each honeycomb unit starts with a 3D printed recycled-plastic core allowing “the interior to support any spatial, functional, and stylistic preference the resident may have.” Multiple layers, i.e. pre-fabricated aluminum frames, shells, and a glass window, are added to the core as reinforcement, and to make the unit habitable.
A cluster of units, including specialized bathroom blocks and a social space, are stacked on top of each other using scaffolding. “In aggregate,” states the project’s website, “this forms clusters of suspended micro-neighborhoods of shelters for the city’s least fortunate.”
“Off-the-shelf scaffolding will most certainly need to be modified in order to handle the loads of the pods,” explains Tjeldflaat, “Another option we are considering is to develop a custom scaffolding system that is structurally optimized for these loads.”
Fixtures, such as plumbing and electrics, have also be considered. Each unit, according to Tjeldflaat, will be “energy self-sufficient through solar energy harvesting” and rely “on rainwater collection/recycling” for water, and “composting toilet fixtures.”
What is needed to make it happen?
Framlab will continue to work on project Homed throughout 2018 alongside other projects looking to tackle societal and environmental issues. The agency is currently looking for collaborators to help push the initiative forward.
“At this point,” concludes Tjeldflaat, “we have started initial conversations with a few organizations and potential partners, but are most certainly looking to meet with industry partners who are up for the challenge of this project.”
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Featured image shows an example Homed lot. Concept image by Andreas A. Tjeldflaat/Framlab