Friday Fun: Printing our buildings?
A view from the Empire State Building. By asterix611.

A view from the Empire State Building…imagine if we could print skyscrapers like this… By asterix611.

3D printing, the process by which objects are produced entirely from a digital model and then “printed” in successive layers, has come a long way. You may remember we did a post on this back in May 2011 on 3D printing a bicycle. Back then, two British engineers had printed the first bike, an incredible feat for the burgeoning industry. In 2013, the stakes have been raised: enter the first 3D printed house.

In the past few months, three architecture and design firms announced that they will be using  3D printers to build a house/building. Two Dutch firms —  Janjaap Ruijssenaars and DUS Architects — and one British firm, Softkill Design, are competing to be the first one to build an architectural structure with a printer.

While we can expect that the first buildings to be printed will be quite expensive and may not live up to current building standards, this is the first step in what may become the way we build the cities of the future. Imagine when new buildings, monuments, parks, and fountains aren’t built the way they are today, but are designed and “printed” in place. The precision and efficiency of 3D printers has the potential to prevent materials, and time, from going to waste — allowing for safer, greener, more creative, and one day, more affordable — building options.

The design possibilities are endless!

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