World First: Kamp C is the First to Print a Complete House in One Piece

First 3-D concrete printed house

Kamp C, the Westerlo-based provincial Centre for Sustainability and Innovation in construction, is the world’s first to 3-D print a house. They printed this house using the largest 3D concrete printer in Europe. The 90-square metre dwelling was printed in one piece with a fixed printer. This is a world first.

You can find Flanders’ first 3D-printed model home on the premises of Kamp C in Westerlo (Belgium). The two-storey house is eight metres tall and has a floor area of 90 square metres, the average size of a terraced house in this region.

“What makes this house so unique, is that we printed it with a fixed 3D concrete printer”, says Emiel Ascione, the project manager at Kamp C. “Other houses that were printed around the world only have one floor. In many cases, the components were printed in a factory and were assembled on-site. We, however, printed the entire building envelope in one piece on-site.”

European C3PO
An inside shot of a 3D printed concrete home
An inside look at the concrete home. Kamp C was World’s First to 3-D Print a House.

The house was printed as part of the European C3PO with financing from ERDF (the European Regional Development Fund). With this feat, the project partners hope to raise interest in the building industry about the use of 3D concrete printing as a building technique.

Kathleen Helsen, the Provincial Deputy for Housing and the President of Kamp said:“The building industry has expressed plenty of interest. 3D printing in construction is experiencing an uptick around the world. Several possibilities, including the printing of provisional housing and even complete apartments, are already being implemented, but this technology is still very novel in Flanders. At the same time, the construction industry is facing unprecedented challenges: we must reduce our consumption of materials and energy, reduce CO2 emissions and the waste stream, the demand for high-quality and affordable housing is on the rise, and so on. At Kamp C, we believe that new technologies, such as 3D concrete printing, can help provide a response. That is why we created this unique location on our site. This is where construction companies can experiment with 3D printing, together with research and education institutions.”

Three times sturdier

The printed house is three times sturdier than a house built with quick build bricks. “The material’s compressive strength is three times greater than that of the conventional quick build brick”, Marijke Aerts, the project manager at Kamp C, explains. This first house is a test. The researchers will then check whether solidity is retained over time. 

Besides the fibres in the concrete, the amount of wire-mesh reinforcement used is extremely limited. As a result of the printing technology used, formwork was redundant, saving an estimated sixty percent on material, time, and budget. In the future, an entire house could be printed in just under two days. If you add up all the days, it took just three weeks to print the house at Kamp C.

Model home

The model home was designed to showcase the technology and also the potential of 3D printing. “We printed an overhang, it has heavily curved walls, different types of walls. Additionally, we also incorporated solutions to the traditional thermal bridge, eliminating cold bridges altogether”, says Ascione. “We developed a low-energy house, with all the mod cons, including floor and ceiling heating, special façade solar panels and a heat pump, and we will also be adding a green roof.”

“When we started to build it, we had no idea which use the building would have. Our aim was to print the floor area, height, and shape of an average contemporary home, in the form of a model home with multipurpose options. This is a principle of circular building. You can use the building as a house, a meeting space, an office, or an exhibition space. People can visit the house during September after making an appointment”, says Piet Wielemans, who is an architect at Kamp C.

A piece of the concrete panel with the up close look of the design
Kamp C is the world’s first to 3-D print a house. Here is an up close look at one of the concrete panels.

The house is part of the European C3PO project. This project aims to accelerate the transition to this innovative technology in Flanders. Eight partners from both the business community and the scientific community have joined forces for the project. They are Beneens, ETIB/CONCRETE HOUSE, Groep Van Roey, Thomas More, Trias architecten, Ghent University and Vicré. Saint-Gobain Weber is also contributing to the project.

About Kamp C

Kamp C is the provincial Centre for Sustainability and Innovation in construction.

Kamp C wants to inspire and activate local authorities, construction companies and also citizens to make the transition to a more sustainable society. The company does this by giving neutral and independent advice in terms of sustainability and innovation. They also do this by involving local government and the construction industry in innovative projects.

This article is part of the C3PO project. The partners received € 668,320 in European grants through C3PO, an ERDF project (‘Co-creation: 3D-printing with companies). The project is also a part of GTI Kempen (GTI stands for Gerichte Territoriale Investering in Dutch, or an integrated territorial investment strategy for a specific region, combining various European funds and programmes).

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