Published on 05 July 2017
Europe's first 3D printed building
With the completion of the preliminary design and detailed artists’ impressions, Europe’s first 3D printed building has come several steps closer to becoming a reality. Plans for a new conference venue, De Vergaderfabriek in Teuge (Gelderland), have now reached a crucial phase. “In recent months we succeeded in translating the draft design into something which can actually be 3D printed,” explains project manager Hugo Jager of the firm Revelating. “The printed concrete will have both a structural and an aesthetic function. The progress made so far is crucial to the test phase, and will also form the basis of the final design and the permit applications, which will be submitted in August.”
“This is a fine example of co-creation and demonstrates the value of multidisciplinary teamwork,” Jager continues. “We are all extremely happy with the result, not least Marjo and Arvid Prigge of De Slaapfabriek in Teuge, who came up with the idea. We are also extremely proud of what we have accomplished by working together.” The consortium responsible for the project is made up of the leading companies in the Dutch 3D printing and construction industry: The Form Foundation, Witteveen+Bos, CyBe, Van Wijnen, Engie, Revelating, Elma Media, Lexence Advocaten, De Slaapfabriek and Centre4Moods. The consortium can also call on the support of Eindhoven University of Technology and the Cleantech Regio innovation platform.
3D printing in concrete is an extremely recent innovation and there are very few examples of its practical application worldwide. The structure planned for Teuge will be unique in every respect: never before have rounded elements been printed out in concrete. As architect Pim van Wylick of The Form Foundation explains, ‘De Vergaderfabriek will comprise a multifunctional, circular area which breaks from the tradition of orthogonal – rectangular – design. It will be a truly three-dimensional building notable for its complex but flowing form, and one which would be difficult or even impossible to create using traditional construction methods.”
The completion of the preliminary design marked the culmination of a period of intensive collaboration during which the partners held a number of multidisciplinary ‘scrum’ sessions. Experts in diverse fields discussed the new processes and production methods that will be required, identifying the relevant risks and eventually integrating their findings to form a holistic design. “Most of the main structure of the building will be 3D printed in concrete,” Pim van Wylick explains. “The advantage is that the extremely complex design can be realized in a very short period and with great accuracy. The material requirement will be lower since we will only print the concrete where it is actually needed. Sections of the roof will be pre-fabricated by robots, which means that much of the building can be produced directly from the digital (computer) model. The hybrid structure comprises unique elements which can be produced by automated technology and assembled on site. In this respect, the building is a showcase not only for 3D printing, but for a holistic approach and an automated design-and-construction process in which all disciplines, project phases and responsibilities are seamlessly interwoven.”
De Vergaderfabriek is the brainchild of De Slaapfabriek in Teuge and the startup Centre4moods. Compared to traditional construction methods, 3D printing will reduce CO2 emissions by 40% and waste flows by some 75%. As a result, the building will be entirely carbon neutral. Moreover, De Slaapfabriek is to introduce an entirely new concept for meetings and training sessions based on ‘total immersion’. The iconic and sustainable building will have huge video screens covering entire walls, combined with surround sound, smells and interactive sensors to support virtual reality experiences. A building that really makes a difference!
See also: www.3dprintedbuilding.eu