3D printing could change a wide range of fields, including medicine and technology. It can also be used to serve one of humanity’s most basic needs: shelter. At France’s University of Nantes, Benit Furet wants to shake up the building industry with his 3D-printed tiny houses. He recently collaborated with the city council, housing association, and the University to print a 1022-square feet house.
Why 3D print a house? Within five years, it could reduce the price of a tiny house’s construction by 25%, and then by 40% within 10-15 years as technology improves. It also lets architects be really creative about shapes, while also serving a practical function. The Nantes house is curved to accommodate the century-old trees on the property, and it improves the home’s air circulation. The best part of 3D printing is that it doesn’t produce any waste.
Another organization, New Story, also wants to use 3D printing to deal with the prevalence of homelessness. They are veterans when it comes to building low-cost homes in needy areas, but after working in Haiti, they began researching technological breakthroughs to improve their process. In March of 2018, they printed a 650-square foot house in less than 24 hours for under $10,000. Their partner, ICON, used a printer named the Vulcan. It looks like a crane and pours down concrete in layers instead of constructing one wall at a time. The software allows flexibility about house shape and size, depending on family size and factors like disabilities.
These types of houses are ideal for rural areas based on how space much space they take up. New Story is currently fundraising for a 100-home, 3D-printed community in El Salvador. It will be the first housing development of its kind. New Story hopes that houses could cost as little $3,500.