Construction 3D Printing Continues Apace with New Projects in Europe and Oceania

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The additive construction (AC) is progressing such that it’s almost impossible to give every groundbreaking project its own due. Three recent milestones, in particular, highlight the growth of 3D printing in construction, from a residential building in Switzerland to an innovative skatepark in New Zealand and a novel achievement in Australia.

Holcim Completes Switzerland’s First On-Site 3D Printed Building

COBOD investor Holcim, in collaboration with another COBOD investor, PERI Group, has successfully completed the country’s first on-site 3D printed building. Located in St. Gallen, the 150 m² showroom features 6.2-meter-high curved walls constructed using 60 m³ of a newly developed concrete mix. This mix, designed by Holcim, reduces cement content while increasing strength, addressing both sustainability and structural integrity concerns. The building was printed in just 55 hours over eight days, a feat unattainable with traditional methods.

The showroom, commissioned by Kobelt AG, blends modern aesthetics with functional design, incorporating wood and steel elements alongside the printed concrete. Inside, the space is divided into various functional zones, including meeting areas, a children’s corner, and a coffee kitchen. Kevin Böhlen, Project Manager at Holcim Switzerland, expressed optimism about the future applications of this technology, citing the learnings from this project as crucial for improving workflow in subsequent endeavors.

Henrik Lund-Nielsen, Founder & General Manager of COBOD, said of the project, “We congratulate Holcim on the development of the new 3D printable real concrete. For long we have been advocating printing with real concrete and not mortars, as the printing with mortars leads to use of more cement, higher CO2 emissions and costs. We need to lower the CO2 footprint of the construction sector, and this we can achieve by 3D printing material efficient design with real concrete, not mortars.”

Mount Maunganui’s Destination Skatepark Features 3D Printed Elements

In Mount Maunganui, New Zealand, the new Destination Skatepark stands out with its incorporation of 3D printed skateable features. Designed by RICH Landscapes and constructed in partnership with Hamilton-based Qorox, the park includes the world’s largest known 3D printed skate sculpture. “The Wave,” a 12-meter-long and 3-meter-high structure, was printed in about five hours using Qorox’s proprietary Q-Ink, a low-carbon material that reduces emissions by 30% compared to standard concrete.

This image and the article feature image courtesy of Tauranga City Council.

The skatepark caters to various skill levels, with zones designed for both beginners and advanced skaters. This project exemplifies how 3D printing can create unique and cost-effective features that would be prohibitive to produce using traditional methods. Richard Smith, Director of RICH Landscapes, highlighted the technology’s ability to realize complex and organic designs, enhancing the skatepark’s aesthetic and functional appeal.

Southern Hemisphere’s “First” 3D Printed Two-Story Building

Aussie AC firm Luyten 3D has built what it calls the first two-story 3D printed building in the southern hemisphere. Using what it claims is the world’s largest mobile AI-powered 3D printer, the Platypus X12, Luyten 3D printed a two-story granny flat in just 32 hours. The building, which includes two bedrooms, a kitchen, bathroom, and living area, was constructed in a continuous session by only two staff members.

Luyten 3D’s proprietary concrete mix, Ultimatecrete Ultraeco, played a key role in this project, offering enhanced sustainability with 20% less cement than the firm’s original mix. This achievement not only demonstrates the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of 3D printing but also its potential to address housing affordability and construction challenges.

Given the nascency of the AC sector, world “firsts” and “largests” will continue apace.

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