CyBe Construction Hopes to 3D Print Small Meeting Structure in Amsterdam

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People walk past the construction site of a 3D-printed social housing building called “Yhnova,” developed by researchers from the University of Nantes, in Nantes, France, in 2017. The house was subsequently finished and a family moved in. (Stephane Mahe/Reuters)

Big talk is common within 3D printing, simply because of the big potential. From epic projections regarding faraway colonization on Mars to giant developments, there have been many promising concepts, and promises in general. Because everyone tends to get excited about cool-looking, less expensive real estate ideas, 3D printing in construction has great allure; however, these projections certainly have a long way to go before turning into reality for the average consumer in the US.

Amsterdam tells a different story right now though as 3D printers whir away stacking layers one upon the other in a repetitive process that will eventually yield a small structure meant to serve as a meeting area. Encompassing 1,000 square feet, architect Pim van Wylick had to re-work the blueprint into a smaller size due to complaints from local municipalities and neighbors.

“This project was fun, but a headache as well,” says van Wylick. “You’d think a building of just a hundred square meters wouldn’t be much work, but the many regulations made it challenging.”

The meeting center will be operated by Arvid Prigge, who also owns a nearby boutique hotel and conference center and has been interested in 3D printing since he started reading about projects occurring in other countries like China.

“If we were going to create a new building, it had to be special,” said Prigg. “Something iconic and unusual.”

The innovation goes beyond 3D printing too, as the aviation-inspired décor (there is an airport next door) features a jet engine shape from above, and even curved walls—which will host video projections and music, if guests desire. Prigge explains further that when people meeting in the building see a pine tree in the video projection, they will even smell pine needles—and coconut, upon seeing a tropical beach.

A wall section of the Meeting Factory, composed of dozens of layers of concrete mix. (Photo: Mediavisie)

Although this construction has gone a bit slower than they expected, the next similar projects are expected to be faster and even more affordable—although the price for this first project in Amsterdam was not disclosed.

“We created a specific type of mortar that hardens within a day and that won’t shrink, expand, or collapse,” says Berry Hendriks of CyBe Construction, the company overseeing the 3D printing process. “We developed special algorithms to print the double-curved walls. It was pretty complicated, but we conducted research beforehand to determine whether it was feasible.”

“Of course, you only have one chance to get it right,” explains Hendriks. “You can’t forget anything. After we’ve prepared and checked everything—the temperature, the consistency of the material, the location of the wall, the electricity and water—we press play and the system works its magic.”

CyBe Construction has been using 3D printing in construction projects for several years now, and they were behind the small, one-bedroom built in Saudi, Arabia for €50,000 ($57,000).

The project, built in Teuge and dubbed ‘The Meeting Factory,’ is projected to take around two weeks or less to complete, but speed was not their goal, and several more similar houses are slated for Eindhoven this year.

“It wasn’t our goal to do it as fast as possible,” said Hugo Jager, the project leader from consultancy firm Revelating. “It was more important to do it right. In any case, the whole process will be much faster and cheaper next time.”

While one resident in the area commented that she was surprised construction of such a structure was allowed there, another neighbor said, “I don’t know how 3D printing works, but at least it’s something new. The design seems unique and I think it will fit here.”

The use of 3D printers in construction is an intuitive mix as concrete simply applied in a more refined manner, extruded rather poured. This type of application—ideally—is the golden child for exemplifying the classic benefits of 3D printing, from greater affordability to speed in production, to cutting down on waste, as well as reducing the amount of human resources required for building projects. With 3D printed concrete as the driving force, innovators and builders around the world have created techniques in construction for more sustainable living, mobile robots for temporary installations, and even affordable housing in Florida.

What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts! Join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com.

A rendering of De Vergaderfabriek (“the Meeting Factory”), now being built in a village in the Netherlands. (Photo: The Form Foundation)

[Source: CBC]
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