The Dutch—famous for their minimalist, experimental, innovative designs—are once again pushing the architectural envelope.

The southern city Eindhoven in the Netherlands plans to unveil the world’s first 3D-printed housing complex next year.

Backed by the city council, Eindhoven Technical University, and several construction companies, Project Milestone hopes to construct its first three-bedroom, single-floor home by mid-2019.

As currently imagined, the housing complex will feature five homes of varying shapes and sizes, built over the next five years. The concrete dwellings, according to a city press release, will be subject to all regular building regulations, and “will meet the demands of current-day occupants concerning comfort, layout, quality, and pricing.”

In another case of robots taking human jobs, a mechanical arm will print each house in concrete (like the Netherlands’ 3D-printed cycle bridge) over a period of weeks.

Private investors believe this endeavor could “revolutionize the building industry,” speeding up construction and allowing more room for customization.

“Everything is possible,” project manager Rudy van Gurp told AFP, boasting that pod-like homes can even be built around natural objects like trees and maybe even bodies of water.

“We can exactly fit the design to the area,” he said. “We are guests in nature.”

The perks of Project Milestone are seemingly endless: 3D printing also helps solve the issue of dwindling skilled artisans in the country. As per basic supply and demand, the fewer available makers, the higher their prices.

“In a few years we will not have enough craftsmen like masons, for example,” van Gurp explained. “By introducing robotisation into the construction industry, we can make homes more affordable in the future.”

The technique is still currently quite expensive—more than traditional methods, for sure. But van Gurp expects rates to drop as 3D technology improves, eventually balancing out (perhaps even one day costing less than a professional).

Testing concrete ahead of next year’s first build (via Project Milestone)

It didn’t take long for folks to get wise to what Eindhoven is up to: Hundreds of potential tenants have already signed up for the project, which comes with a monthly rent between 900 and 1,200 euros (about $10,50 to $1,400).

“This is just the beginning,” van Gurp said. “It’s revolutionary technology and a new way of building that will develop over time.”

France’s University of Nantes recently opened a single 3D-printed home, which serves as social housing.

The city of Eindhoven did not immediately respond to Geek’s request for comment.

For a round-up of all the best 3D printers visit our sister site PCMag.


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