The world’s first 3D printed community

Non-profit New Story teamed up with fuseproject, a design studio founded by Yves Béhar, to design the world’s first 3D printed community, aimed to end global homelessness and build sustainable communities with cutting-edge technology.

The homes are scheduled to be printed this summer and are designed by Yves Béhar and the fuseproject. Families who will live in the community have been involved with the house design. From the land selection to the community layout, the design is catered to their needs. The population consists of mostly farmers and palm-weavers that is roughly equally split between men and women. The age ranges from infants to the elderly, and many live in multi-generation homes.

Because a single house design doesn’t respond to the needs and expectations of the community, the design studios created a system that allows for different programmes, climate factors and growth for families and spaces.

The community has a desire for an outdoor kitchen and an expanded outdoor area to allow for them to keep chickens and gardens, as well as an open living space with a clerestory that provides increased ventilation. In the interior, 3D printing enables built-in elements such as counters in the kitchen and bathroom, seating, shelves and ledges in the walls and embedded structural hooks for building closets, storage and clotheslines. The curved walls of the interior are designed to enable easy and efficient cleaning, reducing the areas where mould can easily develop.

The use of the 3D printer will also drastically increase the potential for speed of construction, as the walls and structural elements of each home can be printed in just 24 hours.

Thought-out spaces in the homes are crafted to fit how users actually live, eat, sleep, and dine, as well as how families grow. The design allows for the use of the latest technologies, but also local construction and skilled labour practices. The design and technology allow the home to be adapted to the local environmental conditions, such as climate and seismic activity with simple enhancements to the base structure.

In this case, the technology has been adapted to a tropical environment for heavy rainfall, using front and back overhangs, celosias (local concrete blocks with puncture holes in the clerestory for ventilation), a culture of using outdoor spaces for cooling and dining, and an pen interior floor plan for added flexibility.

The portable printer is designed to function with near zero-waste and to work under unpredictable constraints (limited water, power and labour) to tackle housing shortages in underserved communities around the world.

New Story CEO Brett Hagler says, “We feel it’s our responsibility to challenge traditional methods. Linear methods will never reach the billion+ people who need safe homes. Challenging our assumptions, iterating based on data, and taking calculated risks on innovative ideas will allow us to reach more families with the best possible solutions, exponentially faster.”

Renderings courtesy Motionland for New Story