3D printed house displayed at Milan Design Week

Exterior of house
© 3D Housing 05

Massimiliano Locatelli is writing a new language of design that reflects the new technology.

Quite a few houses have been squirted out of nozzles recently, but none designed by an architect with a reputation like Massimiliano Locatelli of CLS Architetti, opening today for Milan Design Week. The architect recently told Ellie Stathaki of Wallpaper* about it:

My vision was to integrate new, more organic shapes in the surrounding landscapes or urban architecture....The challenges are the project’s five key values: creativity, sustainability, flexibility, affordability and rapidity. The opportunity is to be a protagonist of a new revolution in architecture.

My favourite question and answer:

W*: Where do you envisage this house being built in the future?
ML: Everywhere and anywhere, even on the moon.

Cybe Robot© Cybe Robot Printer

It's an interesting house, at 100 m2 (1076 SF) a comfortable one bedroom. It is built with a Cybe mobile 3D concrete printer out of Cybe mortar specifically developed for 3D printing:

This brings some very convenient features compared to for example portland cement. For instance our material sets in 5 minutes and achieves structural strength in 1 hour, so collapsing or falling walls are out of the question with CyBe MORTAR. Furthermore the dehydration time is only 24 hours compared to 28 days with traditional concrete. Finishing of the walls/building can be done after 24 hours what’s impossible with other types of concrete – the plaster will immediately fall of the wall – which limits the final finishing phase of the project significantly.

Printing the wallFrom video CLS site/Video screen capture

The engineers at ARUP explain that " The house is made up of 35 modules that have each been printed in 60-90 minutes; the full house has been printed in just 48 hours effective time. The building will be moved from the square to a new location after the festival." I have been skeptical of 3D printing of houses but according to Luca Stabile of Arup:

Robots are opening up a number of possibilities for realizing the next generation of advanced buildings. Digital tools combined with new technologies will enable the production of custom made shapes that cannot be produced otherwise. We are pushing the boundaries and contributing to radical innovation through new manufacturing technologies and materials.

Being Milan, it has to be furnished properly, and it is lovely, all filled with designer furniture and finishes.

There are some interesting things going on in this house. Massimiliano Locatelli is using the tech to get a house form that would be hard to achieve with normal methods.

The interiors have been designed with reference to archetypes of the past, in a dialogue with the 3d language. The concrete composite - the basic construction material - is juxtaposed with equally strong and timeless materials: the brass of the window frames, the marble of the bath fixtures, the smoothed plaster as one of the possible wall finishes, the sheets of polished brass for a reinterpreted industrial kitchen.

3D printed kitchen© 3D Housing 05

They even turn the layering of the concrete into a feature.

The stratification of the concrete generates a pattern, a surface on which climbing plants can grow spontaneously, reaching the roof which becomes an urban garden. The project comes from the desire to think about our future, to improve quality of life through the revolution of technology.

I have called 3D printed houses the new shipping container house, a fad, a dumb idea, a solution in search of a problem. But with new machines, new mortars, talented architects, perhaps this is all getting interesting.

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