In November of last year, we covered a story about Danish additive construction company COBOD’s entry into the U.S. market. This included four different residential projects in three different states throughout 2021, two of which were built by companies using COBOD printers in partnership with the world-renowned homebuilding nonprofit, Habitat for Humanity. Over the recently passed holiday season, on December 21, 2021, it was announced that one of the projects worked on by Habitat was completed. That allowed the new owner, April Springfield, her 13-year-old son, and their puppy to move in just in time for Christmas.
Springfield’s new home is about 1,200-square-feet, has three bedrooms and two bathrooms, and its concrete outer walls were printed entirely with COBOD printers. Alquist 3D, who built the house in partnership with Habitat, is billing this project as “the first owner-occupied 3D-printed residence in the world”, although that depends on whether or not you’re counting the residence recently constructed in Zhangjiakou, China, by Xu Weiguo’s team or ICON’s story regarding a tiny house for a formerly homeless man. Regardless, it’s a notable achievement, and emphasizes once again the particular flair for the dramatic possessed by 3D printing companies when it comes to public relations opportunities.
Although 3D printed home construction is certainly still in a very early phase of its existence, Mannheimer is right to be excited: 2021 finished on an especially strong note, and there’s no reason to think that 2022 shouldn’t be even bigger. The planet’s current macroeconomic landscape is only going to continue to trend in directions that will make additive manufacturing (AM) technologies more and more attractive options, for dealing with the fact that houses have become too expensive for the vast majority of people who want to be homeowners to afford. The more that these technologies are adopted in general, the lower the cost of homes, on average, will be. The more people that can afford to purchase homes, the higher the potential, once again, that the average home price will decrease.
And finally, it’s clear from stories like this that AM construction has a tool in its arsenal that conventional homebuilders don’t: how often do you see a truly uplifting story these days, that has to do with the traditional housing market?