A group of Dutch architects are bravely going where no architect has been before – they have decided to build an entire canal house in Amsterdam using 3D printing.
According to ARN, the canal house building project is expected to take three years.
The front of the house will measure 15 metres high, six metres wide and six metres deep. The construction site is open to visitors for a fee of €2.50.
Dutch firm DUS Architects has custom-built a giant 3D printer inside a shipping container, called the "KamerMaker XL", which means "room maker" in Dutch.
A 3 metre-high block printed from bioplastic Macromelt
The giant 3D printer uses bioplastic pellets made from Macromelt, a product of rapeseed oil, which can easily be shredded and reused again if the piece does not come out of the printer correctly.
As everyone who's ever used a 3D printer will testify, they often need to be calibrated and recalibrated numerous times before the product comes out the way it is supposed to. Since the pieces being created are so big, being able to reuse the materials will be a big help.
The project began in March 2013, when the architects built the printer and began printing parts of the proposed building at a smaller scale of 1:20.
"For the first time in history, over half of the world's population is living in cities. We need a rapid building technique to keep up with the growth of cities and we think that 3D printing would be a good technique to provide good housing for the billions of people around the world," said Hans Vermeulen, one of the co-founders of DUS Architects.
DAS has moved the KamerMaker XL to unused land by a canal and has begun printing walls for the building and human-sized plastic furniture.
Printing three-metre-high blocks takes a week. Some have faults in them where the printer is unable to spread the bioplastic smoothly.
"Maybe in three years we will have printed the house four times, upgrading the house based on the gained knowledge," said Vermeulen.
There are 13 rooms planned for the canal house, and the firm intends to finish building one room by the end of the summer.