Printing homes allows freedom in design, removing barriers from the construction process that limit what a building can look like. “You could print a house in the shape of a Fibonacci spiral if you wanted to,” Jason Ballard, co-founder of Icon, told Wired
. “It’s just as simple as printing a square.”
This fall, architectural startup Branch Technology is utilizing multiple 3D printers to construct the winning design of a competition it held in 2016. Curve Appeal, conceptualized by architecture firm WATG, is just what it sounds like: a swirling design with undulating interiors that spiral into almost tornado-like support beams. It shows off the capabilities of what Branch’s robots can do, utilizing a new design method that involves lattices instead of solid layers. The pieces are being printed off-site and assembled into a 1,000-square-foot building at Chattanooga State Community College in Tennessee. It will take up to four months to build, plus up to six weeks to install, and it’ll cost a hefty $300,000 to $400,000, excluding plumbing, appliances, and furniture.
Another innovative design project is underway in Eindhoven. Project Milestone is a five-year initiative implemented by Eindhoven University of Technology, architecture firm Houben & Van Mierlo Architecten, construction company Van Wijnen, and the city government, among others. The renderings of the future five-home neighborhood resemble a sleek version of Stonehenge, or the rock circle of Outlander’s Craigh na Dun. The project leaders hope 3D printing will be the answer to a shortage of bricklayers, but it’s also a way to flex their design muscles.
“We like the look of the houses at the moment as this is an innovation and it is a very futuristic design,” Van Wijnen manager Rudy Van Gurp told The Guardian
. “But we are already looking to a take a step further and people will be able to design their own homes and then print them out. People will be able to make their homes suit them, personalize them, and make them more aesthetically pleasing.” The first dwelling, a one-story, two-bedroom residence, will be built in 2019.