It’s hideous, but this 3D-printed villa in China can withstand a major quake

As far as trends go, few things are as unequivocally “in” as 3D printing. During its run as an industry, there have been few things the tech hasn’t been able to create, which is why it should come as no surprise that a Beijing architecture firm just put the finishing touches on a nearly indestructible 3D-printed villa. A bona fide mansion, not only does the structure boast the capability of withstanding a magnitude 8.0 earthquake but it was manufactured in just 45 days. Though a price tag wasn’t given, it’s safe to assume 3D-printing the home cost the firm dramatically less than it would to traditionally build a similar structure. In other words, this could be the future of housing.

Designed and built by HuaShang Tengda, this 3D-printed masterpiece was built completely on-site in one fell swoop — whereas other 3D-printed structures were manufactured at separate facilities and pieced together at a later time. Additionally, the company itself created an entirely new print-process technology that utilizes concrete specifically for the job. Prior to hitting “Start” on the machine, a construction crew first installed the building’s frame, which included rebar support and the home’s plumbing.

“Because of its speed, low cost, simple and environmentally friendly raw materials, [it should] generally improve the quality of people’s lives,” said HuaShang Tengda on its website. “Particularly with the use of the new rural construction, [it] can now improve farmers’ living conditions. [The technology] will have immeasurable social benefits.”

For HuaShang Tengda’s unique print process, the company developed a software comprised of four main operations: concrete mixing, transmission, electronic ingredient formulating, and 3D printing. HuaShang made use of roughly 20 tons of concrete to construct the entire villa, of which some of its walls measure an astounding eight feet thick. Once printing concluded, the crew painted and decorated the home’s interior.

Moving forward, HuaShang hopes its innovative tech can be used to print homes for those in need, high-rise skyscrapers, and durable homes for farmers. Considering just how cheap this two-story villa was to make, it likely won’t take much convincing to get other builders on board with using the revolutionary system.

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