It’s now possible to build a house at a rapid pace, 3D printing it in just days…or even a single day. They’re not gimmicks, either – there are people who actually call these 3D printed houses home.

Last year, a team of researchers in France from the University of NantesNantes MétropoleNantes Métropole Habitat (NMH), and Ouest Valorisation, began work on an ambitious project using an industrial 3D printer and patented additive manufacturing technology to build a five-room house named YHNOVA in only a few days. We’ve now learned that the 3D printed YHNOVA house has been completed in the district of Nantes Bottière.

Last April, Marc Patay, Managing Director of Nantes Métropole Habitat, said in a translated quote, “YHNOVA is an opportunity to confront and solve technical, environmental, urban, regulatory, phonic, thermal, etc. constraints with the support of various experts involved in this project. Thus, Nantes Métropole Habitat brings its expertise as a contracting authority by putting key players in the construction industry at the table to advance this innovative process, especially in the service of social housing of tomorrow.”

The automated, robotic 3D printing technique used to construct YHNOVA is called BatiPrint3D. The patented 3D printing concrete construction process was developed by teachers and researchers from the Laboratory of Digital Sciences of Nantes (LS2N) and the Research Institute in Civil Engineering and Mechanics (GeM), both of which are located at the university’s Institute of Technology (IUT) and the IUT of Saint-Nazaire.

Johanna Rolland, President of Nantes Métropole; Alain Robert, President of Nantes Métropole Habitat; Mohammed Bernoussi, First Vice-President of the University of Nantes; Chantale Nonnotte, Deputy Regional Director of Caisse des Dépôts; and Vincent Lamande, president of the SATT Ouest Valorisation.

Together with their partners from LS2N and GeM, the research team has been hard at work developing the innovative social housing project. The BatiPrint3D robot began construction on YHNOVA on rue du Croissant in La Bottière during the 2017 Nantes Digital Week in September.

While the 95-square-meter house, which has complex architectural shapes like doors, corners, windows, and rounded walls, took longer than a few days to complete, building it in less than four months is still a major feat. YHNOVA, which was designed by the French architectural firm TICA, was inaugurated in Nantes last week.

The YHNOVA house will be open to the public on April 7th, and will also host the Regional House of Architecture, which will work with three district schools for six weeks this spring on the theme of digital architecture; the school teams participated in the jury as part of the Regional House of Architecture’s “IO Residences of Architects in France” project call.

The designers of the 3D printed YHNOVA house will be examining it closely from every angle, to make sure that everything is perfect for its future tenants.

Social housing is an umbrella term that refers to rental housing which may be owned and managed by the state, non-profit organizations, or a combination of the two, with the goal of providing affordable housing to those who need it most. Soon, the 3D printed house will be allocated to a family, chosen by the NMH Housing Award Committee based on standard social housing criteria, and they will receive keys and take possession in June.

YHNOVA will have several sensors for features like temperature, humidity, and air quality, as well as equipment to evaluate and analyze “the evolution of materials, thermal and acoustic quality,” according to the university. By employing these measures, the tenants will be able to save money on energy bills.

The unique project has helped demonstrate several important lessons in terms of constructing the homes of tomorrow. It improved the energy performance of construction, and with its zero waste, raw materials, and decreased transport, the project’s ecological footprint was lowered. The project also highlighted how robotic 3D printing technology can lower the risk of musculoskeletal disorders, as construction workers don’t have to go up and down scaffolding, and showcased a much lower dependence on good weather conditions for a solid day of construction work.

Pictures of the YHNOVA building site.

However, while the 3D printed YHNOVA house is complete, the project is not. The university is continuing its research, and is working on the possibility of developing housing with bio-sourced materials, in addition to 3D printing larger houses. Nantes Métropole has begun cost studies for new projects in the metropolitan area, like a suburban housing estate with homes in different shapes and sizes, and a 350-square-meter public reception building.

A former LS2N doctoral student is supporting a new startup that will be incubated by the university with SATT Ouest Valorisation and Atlanpôle. The university is also developing an R&D activity that’s specific to the field of construction robots. Elsewhere in France, other 3D printing construction projects, such as a complex 700-square-meter commercial structure and an 80-unit holiday center, are being considered.

Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below.

[Sources: University of NantesNantes Métropole Habitat / Images: University of Nantes]

 

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