This week saw construction begin on Europe’s first 3D-printed building.
The BOD Europe first 3D printed building
That’s the claim being put forward by Danish firm 3D Printhuset, which is behind the new building in Copenhagen, Denmark.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held earlier this week with the mayor of Denmark to commemorate the beginning of construction of The BOD – or, Building on Demand.
Only a few hours after the ribbon-cutting finished, the upper part of the foundations had been printed to reach a height of 60 cm.
Start of the upper part of the foundation of The BOD
The next phases of construction will include traditional casting of the floor, before the 3D printer again takes over to print the walls up to a height of 4.5 m.
The job is slated to finish “at the end of the fall”, according to 3D Printhuset, with the building becoming an “office hotel”, albeit a very small one.
Printhuset CEO Henrik Lund-Nielsen said: “We are extremely proud to be doing this demonstration project, demonstrating for the first time in Europe that a building can be made with 3D printing and still live up to the strong regulations we have here.
“We are not doing this project to promote the specific 3D printer that we are using, but to promote the use of 3D construction printing in general.
“We are convinced that this project will inspire others to also apply 3D construction printing to building projects in Europe.”
It’s a fascinating experiment, and this is certainly the first time in Europe I’ve seen someone using 3D concrete-printing technology to create an entire building.
I got a glimpse earlier this year of similar technology that Skanska and others have been working on, and while challenges still remained to get it into commercial use, it didn’t seem to be far away.
Their major challenge was not actually the technology, but getting the concrete mix just right – soft enough to pump through the printer, but stiff enough that it would not slump before the next layer of concrete is ‘printed’ on top of it.
Finished upper part of the foundation of The BOD
Interestingly, 3D Printhuset’s website says that it has found the “perfect recipe for 3D construction printing”.
The industry will be watching the experiment in Copenhagen very closely. If successful, it could pave the way for further trials.
And whether printing bespoke elements for façades or infrastructure, as Skanska were experimenting with in Coventry, or even larger entire buildings as is now happening in Copenhagen, it’s clear that the future of construction could look very different to how it does today.