Over the past couple of years, we have really begun to see 3D printing make its way into the construction industry. While the technology has proven itself in the fabrication of small buildings, we have yet to see 3D printed buildings actually be put to everyday use. We’ve seen Andrey Rudenko’s 3D printed castle, we’ve seen plans for D-Shape Enterprises’ 3D printed estate in upstate New York, and we’ve even seen large apartment buildings partially 3D printed in sections by WinSun and then assembled. There is a common theme here though, none of these buildings have yet been put to use for residential or commercial purposes. While WinSun has talked about 3D printing office buildings in Dubai, so far they have nothing to show.
Now, however, it appears as though one hotel in the Philippines has jumped ahead of Winsun to 3D print the world’s first commercial building. This building will actually be put to use on a daily basis as part of an addition to The Lewis Grand Hotel on Don Juico Avenue, in Angeles City Pampanga.
Back in July, Lewis Yakich, the owner of The Lewis Grand contacted us to let us know that they would be 3D printing an expansion to their hotel in the coming months, and if all went as planned, the structure would become the first fully permitted 3D printed operational commercial building in the world. Yakich, a material science engineer, who graduated from UCSB, originally hails from California and has spent some time building houses in the United States. He had spent countless hours coming up with a design for his building, which would not only be structurally sound, but actually stronger than current construction methods of hollow block allow for.
“The Philippines is actually a great place for concrete printing because of the weather. Currently everything is made out of concrete, and it’s a third world country so it can do a lot of good in disaster zones, etc.,” Yakich told 3DPrint.com.
Today, Yakich has informed 3DPrint.com that he has successfully 3D printed their building which measures 10.5 m x 12.5 m (approximately 34.5 feet x 41 feet) in dimensions with a height of 3 meters (approx. 10 feet), making it about 130 square meters (1500 square feet). It is a two bedroom villa with a living room and jacuzzi room (with 3D printed jacuzzi), all of which will be part of the prestigious Lewis Grand Hotel. In all, the structure took approximately 100 hours of print time to complete, although the process was not a continuous one.
“We had to stop several times to install plumbing, wiring, and rebars,” Rudenko tells us. “In the future this can all be done while printing, but for now we took it slow as we were developing a process and doing testing as we went along.”
The 3D printer used on this project is still a work in progress, but Yakich tells us that it is designed in such a way that it can easily be assembled or disassembled and then moved to another location for a future project in which it can print a large range of designs and design elements. Yakich didn’t do this alone, as he had help from others, including the aforementioned Andrey Rudenko (castle 3D printer developer) who was the lead designer for the printer that was used and the mastermind behind the project.
“The assembly time for the first printer was 2 months, but this can be replicated now within a couple weeks as the assembly process has been worked out,” Rudenko explains. “It took approximately 1 month to develop and test the right mix, using local materials. We have sand with volcanic ash here in the Philippines, which is difficult to extrude, but a reliable process was developed and we obtained great results with pretty strong walls and good bonding between layers.”
This is just the beginning for Yakich though. Yakich plans to advance the 3D printers further, and has already signed a contract to 3D print an entire subdivision of 20 homes this coming November. According to his estimates, it will take them just about one week to 3D print 6 houses simultaneously.
“I also locked down a memorandum of agreement to start preselling 200 low income homes,” Yakich divulged to 3DPrint.com. “The goal would be to expand to 2000 homes within 2 years. The Philippines is in such need of low income housing that this technology is perfect for it.”
According to his cost analysis, by 3D printing these houses, he will save a staggering 60% on building costs. These are costs that could go a long way in providing affordable low income housing to the masses. With the ability to print these homes so quickly, at such low costs, there is no doubt that Yakich’s 3D printed homes will become very popular, very quickly, in the Philippines and potentially other developing countries.
The Filipino government has a special low income housing program in place, and Yakich, along with his 3D printing method of construction, has already been approved as a qualified builder.
Not only are the cost savings what could potentially thrust Yakich’s 3D printed homes into the lime light in the Philippines, but also the potential that they allow for providing high quality, luxurious homes to individuals who typically would have no choice but to live in less aesthetically pleasing and cheaply built homes.
“I plan to roll over some of the cost savings of using a 3D printer to give a more quality house for the low income homes,” Yakich explains. “It would be great if I could give them all mini mansions! The people here would go nuts over my homes.”
When most of us are used to seeing 3D printed buildings, we typically envision buildings that feature individual layers of concrete. This is also seen in the hotel villa that Yakich has printed, but he tells us that this doesn’t need to be the case. In fact, he plans to offer the option to buyers of homes, to have their walls (both interior and exterior) smoothed out, using a hopper that is applied during the printing process.
Regardless, Yakich, with the help of Rudenko, has done what no one else has been able to accomplish thus far, and in a short amount of time, if things go as planned, the idea of 3D printed homes will also become a reality, not only for a few people here and there, but for a huge population in the Philippines.
What do you think about the world’s first 3D printed hotel villa and the upcoming 3D printed homes in the Philippines? Discuss in the 3D printed buildings forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the video of the 3D printer in action below, as well as some more photos.