ArchiExpo e-Magazine - #12 – 3D Printed Architecture & MaterialsArchiExpo e-Magazine


The Latest on 3-D Printing Buildings and Materials




This 12th issue of ArchiExpo e-magazine focuses on innovations in 3-D printed design & architecture. In addition to a piece dedicated to interesting materials on the market now for 3-D printing, our Chinese-based contributor releases key information on Shanghai company WinSun who constructed 10 buildings from 3-D printed parts in less than 24 hours.

ArchiExpo mediakit
Hot Topic
The igloo uses a unique 3-D printing technique, playing with the physics of water.

/ / /

Almost every week another company releases a brainchild born from a new 3-D printing technology: biodegradable and bionic artificial bone structures to printing chemical reactions with the chemputer. Here are a few interesting materials on the market now: Wood Start with James Novak’s wooden 3-D printed smart phone...


Banner Architectatwork
Hot Topic
10 buildings from 3-D printed parts in less than 24 hours.

/ /

China, the nation that gave us gunpowder and the compass, is no stranger to invention. In more recent times, the Chinese have also become masters at copying and reverse engineering. So when a Chinese firm claimed to have made a breakthrough in 3-D printed buildings last year, the global response was one of surprise and no little skepticism.

In a headline-grabbing stunt, Shanghai-based WinSun constructed 10 buildings from 3-D printed parts in less than 24 hours. More than a year on, the jury remains out on the level of innovation involved.

3-D Printing Walls

Headed up by Chairman Ma Yihe, WinSun has spent RMB 20 million (around US$3 million) and over a decade creating a massive 3-D printer—6 meters high, 10 meters wide and 150 meters long. It is this impressive rig that enabled the entrepreneur to accomplish his feat of high-speed construction in March 2014.

While WinSun outsources the creative design of their printed buildings to a separate architectural firm, they do generate their own 3-D drawings. These are then fed into the printer, which fabricates parts using a specially formulated “ink” of recycled concrete, fiberglass and sand, plus a special hardening agent. Beams, columns and steel bars are placed within the walls, along with insulation, leaving space for pipes, cables, windows and doors. Ink refilling and printing can be done simultaneously.

Although WinSun have so far printed their housing parts in one central location, Ma insists their printer will be moved around in the future. The WinSun chairman is also unconcerned by the prospect of 3-D printers taking construction workers’ jobs.

“With a 3-D printed building some physical labor is converted into mechanical labor,” Ma says. “But there are still some workers. They just change their work from traditional construction work to machine operation, which is easier and safer.”

According to the blurb on their website, WinSun’s building process is not only fast and green, but safe and cheap too. The company claims that their 3-D printed walls are up to 30% stronger than traditional counterparts, while each of their 10 houses reportedly cost a mere 30,000 RMB (US$4,800) to construct.

A Printer Worth Having?

“The size of the printer allows for a tenfold increase in production efficiency,” says Ma. “We estimate that 3-D printing technology can save between 30 and 60% on building materials, shorten production time by up to 70%, and decrease labor costs by up to 80%.”

With WinSun coy about how they arrive at their figures, it’s hard to separate the hype from the hard data. Nevertheless, some Western architects are genuinely impressed by the company’s efforts.

“I have great admiration for WinSun,” says Adam Kushner, president of New York-based D-Shape Enterprises, a company that received the first permit for 3-D printed construction in the United States last year. “Are they doing anything that hasn’t been done before in other countries? No. But they are doing it bigger, faster and cleaner.”

Yet others angrily reject WinSun’s claims at innovation.

“Ma has announced he is the first in the world to print a 3-D house and a pioneer of China’s 3-D printing industry,” says Dr. Jing Zhang, a former student of Dr. Behrokh Khoshnevis, a well-respected, U.S.-based scientist who has developed his own system of 3-D printing buildings called “Contour Crafting.”

3T5A0917

“All WinSun has done is bought a very expensive 5-axis gantry system from Italy,” continues Jing. “By putting a concrete pump on the gantry they can print concrete parts, which are then stacked together to build a ‘house.’ WinSun hasn’t developed anything.”

On the Other Hand

Despite questions over the revolutionary nature of WinSun’s work, the company appears to be making good commercial progress. A slew of contracts have recently been signed and a joint venture formed with an American investment firm. Ma himself believes the company’s technology will one day be used to build bridges and skyscrapers.

“We plan to build a 100-meter high building by the end of this year,” he says.

With the Egyptian government already pre-ordering 20,000 one-story houses from WinSun, the company may also be instrumental in bringing cheap houses to the masses.

“The technology definitely shows promise,” says Derrick Morris, director of construction technology at Habitat for Humanity International. “The current technology doesn’t lower the cost of accompanying features required to deliver a full home, however.”

WinSun isn’t the only Chinese company involved in 3-D printed architecture and construction. In July this year Zhuoda Group built a two-story, 3-D printed villa in just three hours. The company says it has already agreed to projects with numerous municipal governments across China.

“With its rapid rate of urbanization, China is the perfect test bed for 3-D printed buildings,” says Yin Tian Quan, Zhuoda’s sales manager.

3T5A0970

Regardless of who “invented” 3-D printed building technology, Quan’s point is highly relevant. Based on burgeoning local demand, and with strong government backing, Chinese companies are now applying the science of 3-D printed building in a very practical way. Whether or not they’re technological pioneers, they’re still way ahead of the field.


Banner Big5
Events
We are facing East to our new friends, the Chinese.

/ / /

The crowd of upscale Kenyans was in a festive mood dancing, drinking and laughing at a Nairobi nightclub. But then, one of the revelers spotted two white Westerners, journalist Michiel Hulshof and architect Daan Roggeveen. The Kenyan asked the two Dutch men whether they were Americans and then, without giving them...


/

The State Hermitage Museum held its first retrospective exhibition of Zaha Hadid’s architectural works in Russia, from 27 June to 27 September 2015. The...



/

Accommodating the perpetual shift of contemporary working styles, the Dekleva Gregorič architects innovated the (un)curtain office in 2014. Dekleva Gregorič...



  • Join our 155,000 subscribers

  • Collectively associated with outdoor air, pollution is present indoors as well. Toxic chemicals, such as formaldehyde, are more prevalent inside than out. This is because traditional indoor wall paints emit VOCs (volatile organic compounds), a variety of gases including formaldehyde that are harmful over short and long-term. To address this issue, some indoor paint brands are constantly innovating VOC-free, non-toxic paints to also meet color and durability standards.

    Anna Sova Luxury Organics, a small Texas-based company that produces Greenguard certified paint, advertises that 90% of their paint ingredients are food-based. The company believes that breathing good air is as important as eating healthy. Anna Sova’s milk-based paints are a preferred product of professional designer Anjie Cho, a New York feng shui specialist and architect.

    Californian company Dunn Edwards produces more affordable lines of eco-paint, some of which are Greenguard approved. Dunn Edwards is a go-to paint for California based interior designer Sarah Barnard who specializes in sustainability and historic preservation.

    French brand Onip has developed Label’Onip Clean’R, which is not only non-toxic but claims to capture and destroy formaldehyde accumulated from other materials. Clean’R was the chosen wall paint for maternity ward and surgical unit renovations at Val de Sambre Clinic in Amiens, France.

    ECOS, a VOC free paint company in business for 25 years, continues testing their products as new technology becomes available. Their indoor wall paints were chosen by curators at both the Louvre in Paris and the British Museum in London. Non-toxic paint in museum settings is important because VOCs cause corrosion and discoloration of objects and can destroy them over time.

    Selecting indoor wall paints that are non-toxic, low VOC or VOC free is beneficial to both the environment and the health of humans and pets. Designers who come in contact with potentially toxic materials daily will also decrease their health risks by choosing these new paints. With numerous non-toxic, non-pollutant paints on the market, decorating responsibly is becoming more accessible.


    / /

    Ah, the place of fashion and design. France welcomed architecture professionals at the tradeshow Architects@Work in Marseille October, 2015. The space allowed...


    / /

    “I was in practice for one month when the university asked me if I’d like to teach,” award-winning Australian architect Glenn Murcutt said during the press...



    /

    Fancy taking a seat on a mighty steel structure straight out of a science-fiction flick? Or sitting on a wicker recliner with wheels? How about being scooped...



    / /

    Cersaie 2015 announced progress in the Italian ceramics industry, but let’s put numbers aside and talk trends. A beautiful collection of tiles was presented from stand to stand during the fair. The red thread between them all summarizes this year’s ‘must haves’: vintage, geometrical, optical illusion, modern mosaic, urban style or pop art, and pattern and fabrics. Vintage is a top favorite, and Spanish brand NEOLITH have much to offer. They present the latest collection of their iconic Sintered Compact Surface (*), Neolith, in various surface typologies and styles. Alvaro Palencia, project manager & architect consultant at NEOLITH, gives us more information on the material and the collection in this video interview taken during the fair.

    (*) Article modified on 11/5/2015. Neolith was initially described as “Porcelaine stone”


    CONTRIBUTORS



    Stephanie Watson

    Stephanie Watson is a Content Marketing Manager at ArchiExpo.


    Read More

    Erin Tallman

    American artist Erin Tallman is a journalist for various online publications and is the Editor in Chief of ArchiExpo e-magazine. She has published three books, including her first novel.


    Read More

    Vanessa Liwanag

    Vanessa Liwanag, is an MBA alumni of the prestigious Mod’Art International in Paris and founder of Creative Talents Worldwide.


    Read More

    Alexandra Katz

    Alexandra Katz is a Russian freelance journalist with more than 10 years of reporting experience.


    Read More

    Hilary Edesess

    Hilary Edesess is a freelance journalist based in Marseille, France. She blogs about culture, art and urban design.


    Read More

    Alex Ulam

    Alex Ulam is a freelance journalist and design critic based in New York.


    Read More

    Erin Gigl

    Erin Gigl is a freelance design and travel writer, editor and artist.


    Read More

    Daniel Allen

    Daniel Allen is a writer and a photographer. His work has been featured in numerous publications, including CNN, BBC, The Sunday Times, The Guardian, National Geographic Traveller, Discovery Channel.


    Read More

    Style Switcher

    Highlight Color:

                   

    Backgrounds:

                        

    You can also set your own colors or background from the Admin Panel.