3D printers have been pretty innovative of late, replicating such weird and wonderful items as dinosaur bones, iPhone cases and even ‘meat’, among other things. But now a bunch of architects have also gotten their hands on the technology, and they’re setting their sights on something bigger, much bigger.
The latest crazy idea to see what 3D printers are capable of doing is the brainchild of one Janjaap Ruijssenaars, who is planning to ‘print’ what he calls the “Landscape House” – a two-storey structure laid out in a figure-eight shape that might just give builders a reason to be concerned over their jobs.
Ruijssenaars is treating the project as something of a work of art, saying that the figure-eight form borrows from nature and will fit in seamlessly with the outside world. On his website he describes the design as “one surface folded in an endless mobius band, where floors transform into ceilings, inside into outside.”
The plan is to use an industrial-sized 3D printer known as the D-Shape, which was created by Italian engineer Enrico Dini. According to Dini, the D-Shape has been designed especially to print ‘structures’, and uses sand with a binding agent that ensures the buildings it prints are solid as a rock.
The construction process is explained in more detail by the Los Angeles Times, but if you’re reading this and imagining a tower block-sized 3D printing monstrosity building the Landscape House bit-by-bit, you’ll be a little bit disappointed. Instead, Ruijssenaars plans to use D-Shape to create the building in 20 x 30 foot sections, with these bits then being assembled on site to compile the actual building.
Due to concerns over the strength of 3D printed houses, Ruijssenaars’s home won’t be entirely ‘printed’ however. In addition to the basic blocks, he has also incorporated a few traditional concrete supports to make sure the building does fall in on itself.
The concept seems to be sound and viable, but builders probably won’t need to worry about losing their jobs just yet. According to the BBC, the Landscape House is likely to cost between $5 million and $6 million to ‘print’.