Recently in San Franciso, start up company Apis Cor 3-D printed the first ever house within just 24 hours in Russia. The house is 400-square-foot and only cost roughly $10,134 to build, with the windows and door being the most expensive materials. The printer, which resembles a small crane, places layers of concrete mixture that once set can stand for up to 175 years. This was not built using prefabricated parts, nor did they repair parts to build this home; the 3-D printer was able to print walls, partitions and building envelope for the workers to then add paint, install wiring, roofing etc. manually, but this didn’t take much time at all. Nikita Chen-iun-tai, the inventor of the mobile printer and founder of Apis Cor is on a mission “to automate everything” and claim they could provide the perfect solution to help quickly rehouse people affected by natural disasters, or in areas of extreme housing crises.
Up until now the printers used in large scale projects have been big and bulky with a portal design only and height restrictions for printed buildings. They are also difficult to assemble and transport on site which is an expensive novelty. The printer used by Apis Cor offers a new and compact design which prints separate pieces on site for later assemble.
The phrase "form follows function" was coined in 1896, just as it became clear that concrete, glass and steel would free architects to design buildings in completely new ways that had nothing to do the buildings intended function or purpose. A big challenge with 3D-printing homes, is how "a regular person" feels about the concept of living in a printed home, considering texture as well as aesthetics. Although printing in steel or fabric is desired, currently it’s very limited.
Apis Cor have demonstrated that we are in fact capable of printing homes having applied new technologies into practice alongside PIK, the leading Russian public developer. We are witnessing a new evolution in the construction industry with projects underway worldwide to develop new concepts to build property. Some of the other designs include:
- Kooky Cubby – a 3-D printed tree-house in Melbourne, Australia designed by a five-member consortium of Australian architects, engineers and designers.
- Office Block – based in Dubai and designed by Gensler, an architectural and design practice.
- Metal Bridge – based in Amsterdam and designed by start-up MX3D who develop ground-breaking robotic technology.
Would you live in a 3-D printed house? Nikita adds, “We want to help people around the world to improve their living conditions. That’s why the construction process needs to become fast, efficient and high-quality as well. For this to happen we need to delegate all the hard work to smart machines.”
GKR London are constantly hearing about new technologies to improve existing and outdated processes in both the Real Estate & Construction. Printing homes and potentially entire cities is an extremely fascinating prospect and it could save our economy millions if we get it right and we embrace it.
*Video – Watch Apis Cor construct the first ever 3-D printed home here*