By Sun Kim
Posting in Architecture
A house designed and built with a computer, printer, and plywood might be the home of the future.
In a forest north of Copenhagen, Danish architects Frederik Agdrup and Nicholas Bjorndal of Eentileen used just a computer, a printer and 820 sheets of plywood to build a 125 square meter (1,345 square foot) home in four weeks. Named Villa Asserbo, the home is the pilot project of Eentileen's Print a House project, a collaboration with Facit Homes. The designers and fabricators are touting the process of mass-customizing houses and responsibly producing them on site.
Matthew Stock's video report for Reuters presents the first Danish digitally fabricated house, and what Eentileen and Facit Homes hope will be the house of the future.
The Print a House process begins as a 3D model which is translated into a manufacturing template and sent to a printer, i.e. a CNC machine. The CNC machine, a computerized milling machine, then cuts sheets of plywood into pieces that can be slotted and fitted together. The architects developed their method to maximize efficiency, minimize environmental impact, and reduce construction errors in the building process. Agdrup and Bjorndal say that their Print a House method allows a house to be built by two people without heavy machinery.
Several aspects of the project minimize its environmental impact:
- The project uses no concrete
- Wood is the only wall material used, with the exception of glass windows
- The wood is PEFC certified from sustainable forests in Finland
- The CNC-machine wastes very little material
- Structural steel is minimal
- The structure touches the ground only at its screw pile foundations
The concept's appeal is that it can be adapted to different situations and locations, such as post-disaster areas. Printing the house is not the most important thing here. The digital techniques and the portability of those techniques are the goals.
In the video, Anders Thomsen from Denmark's Technological Institute calls the concept revolutionary and the project's application global:
"And the reason why is that you have every information: design, interface, everything in a digital platform. And you can just deliver that file to Norway, to China, to the countries that you want to export this concept to - and they can adjust it to the market there."
As long as they have the raw materials, the computer equipment, and the printer.
Are these quasi-prefabricated homes really the home of the future?
Related on SmartPlanet:
Edited 5/15/2012 to add: Facit Homes, based in London, are the fabricators for the project.
May 6, 2012
pretty interesting. the idea is fit to construct a dog house than to construct a house for humans. it is plain ans simple. but the idea is AMAZING.
It's nice to see the conversation continue; if you haven't clicked over to the original video, it's very informative and clears up some of the questions. A few more things though: - The plywood sheets are cut and assembled into sandwich type panels, almost like SIPS, so it's not just a sheet of plywood that is protecting you from the elements. - The architects call the project Print a House because of the way the sheets of plywood are fed into the machine, similar to the way paper is fed into a large scale plotter. - The WikiHouse project has been profiled on our site and is an excellent example of digital fabrication AND open source design.
You're stretching the imagination a bit to call a CNC machine a printer. Such machinery clearly is not new and while the concept of using this technique to manufacture a timber house might indeed be innovative, such exaggerations can only serve to detract from your own credibility. It's a good idea and has much merit but it certainly is not house printing system.
I am looking at policies for maximising the population carrying capacity of Australia, which at some level will involve a large-scale migration back to the country. One of my ideas is to build prefabricated houses with steel frames. This will allow extension upwards, or the support of roof gardens, glasshouses and the like, or the rearrangement of the interior (so a large family home can be converted into multiple units and then converted back later). The cladding and walls can be whatever you like (Smartplanet has discussed some very interesting temperature-controlling materials, but plywood would be very practical) and the ideas discussed in this post could be incorporated, needing only the connection points in space to provide a starting point for the design.
houses in tornado prone areas, should either be built into the ground. Or in the case of a 2 story house, the bottom portion, should be below ground level. While the top portion, should be above ground level. In the event of a direct hit, by a tornado, the bottom portion of the home. Could serve as a storm shelter. I have read about people, in the mid-western part of the US. That have had their homes, destroyed twice by tornadoes. While homes can be replaced, people's lives can't be.
Take a look at this site for further insight into this concept: http://www.wikihouse.cc/community Stronger than you might think, cheaper and easier to construct than standard construction. Its even possible to build a DIY CNC router for this project. Something to consider.
To all those naysayers, you have to think outside the square, as not every culture wants or needs a 2000sq ft standalone residence. As a builder,( & I used to work for IPL(NZ) Ltd), I know Plywood is quite a sustainable product in its use of timber & waste.Costs will be the killer here as in New Zealand, ply is prohibitively expensive;, so it could be a hard sell in places. However nonconformity is OK, as we are building a CARDBOARD Cathedral in Christchurch to replace a stone church destroyed in the E/quakes last year, Only temporary, but up to 20 years life we are told ! So keep an open mind on this & other ideas. The Chinese & Japanese could be VERY interested !
In some areas, you will probably send the plans and make the house with.... your hands.......? and some simple tools...., and maybe, again, the design may vary to adjust, or maybe then, you will not need the plans neither, seems to me local ideas and local tools are more ecological. SINPLIFY might mean keep it local then.
If you thought trailer parks were magnets for tornadoes ..... which pig lived in the house of sticks?
great but what about the sanitary, electrical thickness of wooden wall? i hope the houses can be for poor people .
I think its safe to assume that they are not getting the resources from the building site.It makes more sense then to have the machining done at a central area and the cut, thus lighter pieces, shipped to the building site. Of course kit houses are already available. In any case this is not a "printing" this is cutting. A story about using a machine that extrudes the materials based on local resources would be great to hear, but for now its fiction.
I've been a machinist / toolmaker my entire working life.. It's a hell of a stretch to compare a $200? printer to a $75,000 plus CNC milling machine.. Get real!!
Hate to say it, but though great for the environment - I think the environment would not be so nice to the house. This building structure may work in calm areas with not a lot of severe weather, but in many places, such as tornado alleys, hurricane hot spots, and etc, this structure wouldn't hold up. For that matter - it might even have a hard time standing up to some of the high winds we get in Chicago! Some of those winds rip thick trees apart...
Very similar to Wikihouse but a lot simpler to build since all connections are bolted or screwed together and the plywood bracing makes it super strong and to mass produce as well as easier to scale up. Only basic tools are required and supplied with the kit. http://kwickset.net/bungalowphotos.html For termite prevention: http://kwickset.net/avoid_termite_infestation.pdf BTW termites usually come by invitation and owners' neglect.
Like your comment - though being a tech freak and believe 3D printing will revolutionize production in general pretty soon - but as it is still experimental its worth a while to read the "fine print"...befor starting!
What about rodents and insects? It seems to me that this house would be chewed to pieces in a matter of weeks or months.