3D-printed home in Dutch city expands housing options

EINDHOVEN – Elize Lutz and Harrie Dekkers’ new home is a 94-square meter (1,011-square foot) two-bedroom bungalow that resembles a boulder with windows.

The curving lines of its gray concrete walls look and feel natural. But they are actually at the cutting edge of housing construction technology in the Netherlands and around the world: They were 3D printed at a nearby factory.

“It’s special. It’s a form that’s unusual, and when I saw it for the first time, it reminds me of something you knew when you were young,” Lutz said Friday. She will rent the house with Dekkers for six months for 800 euros ($970) per month.

The house, for now, looks strange with its layers of printed concrete clearly visible — even a few places where printing problems caused imperfections.

In the future, as the Netherlands seeks ways to tackle a chronic housing shortage, such construction could become commonplace. The country needs to build hundreds of thousands of new homes this decade to accommodate a growing population.

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Theo Salet, a professor at Eindhoven’s Technical University, is working in 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, to find ways of making concrete construction more sustainable. He figures houses can be 3D printed in the future using 30% less material.

“Why? The answer is sustainability,” he said. “And the first way to do that is by cutting down the amount of concrete that we use.”

He explained that 3D printing can deposit the material only where you need it.

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