International Facade Community


The World’s first 3D Printed Canal House is being printed in Amsterdam, where an international team of partners collaborates in ‘research & doing’ linking science, design, construction and community, at an expo-site in the very heart of the city.

The 3D Print Canal House is a building site where ‘live’ research is being done on 3D printing through the building a full size 3D printed canal house. The site was opened march 1st by unveiling a large 2*2*3 meter 3D printed building block. Every week new large 3D prints are added to the house. The special building site is open to the public, so it also is the youngest museum in Amsterdam.

”What if we can 3D Print Buildings”
This was the question that Amsterdam based architecture office DUS asked themselves in 2011 and what led to the ongoing betapreneurial project that aims to revolutionize the building industry and offer solutions for a better planet: “1. Waste material (plastics) could be recycled into printable materials. 2. Transport costs would be significantly reduced, as only raw materials are distributed. 3 There’s no waste, as one only 3D-prints with the material needed 4. One can 3D print complex and tailormade architecture at less cost and concquer mass production 5. 3D printers could be used around the globe to print local solutions such as emergency shelter, homes from recycled plastics in slums, disasters etc. 6. A global community can share digital files and offer solutions to a local context, and vice versa” these ideas led DUS to design and build the KamerMaker, the World’s first portable large scale 3D Printer, and marked the start of the 3D Print Canal House project.

3D Print Canal House is printed room-by-room with the KamerMaker (RoomMaker)
The Canal House is printed with the KamerMaker (literally: RoomMaker), a large portable 3D printer developed by DUS architects that can print entire interiors measuring 2 x 2 x 3,5 meter. The design of the house consists of different rooms that each are printed separately on site before being assembled into one house. This way the rooms can be carefully tested in a safe and easy accessible manner. Each room consists of several printed parts, which are joined together. The Canal House can be seen at the expo-site in several 3D printed scale models, and exactly the same files are being used to 3D print the house scale 1:1.

Building site, museum and research facility
“The 3D Print Canal House is a unique project because it is a building site, a museum and a research facility in one,” says Hans Vermeulen of DUS architects, initiator of the project. “By 3D printing the first building block we celebrate the start of researching the possibilities of digital fabrication for the building industry.” The research project will take three years. Hedwig Heinsman of DUS: “We hope that in three years time the excitement of the visitors is still as fresh as today, and that the house has developed into a mature 3D printed building with different rooms, each with different constructions and material properties that all tell something about the time that they were printed. And that the 3D Print Canal House becomes a permanent place for pioneering activities in design and architecture.”

Research & Do: unique collaboration between different industries
“Different partners from a diverse range of industries work together on this project, and we learn together by doing,” says Hans Vermeulen of DUS architects. The research develops according to 6 Research & Do themes:
1. KamerMaker: large scale 3D printing
2. Sustainable 3D print material for the building industries
3. New construction and building techniques
4. Downloadable tailor-made architecture
5. Smart building
6. Scripted city planning

The premium partners invest in the project by contributing knowledge and materials. Heijmans researches new building techniques for 3D printing and how this can play a role in client-oriented, tailor made building. Partner Henkel -the world’s largest manufacturer of adhesives and coatings- is working on developing an innovative and sustainable material for 3D printing for the building industry. The municipality of Amsterdam researches what effect the digital maker industry has on the job market and building regulations, and the partners of Amsterdam Smart City investigate how the printing process can be made more intelligent. DOEN Foundation and The Amsterdam Art Fund support the expo-terrain because it links design, culture and technique and thereby instigates innovation. “All partners show courage, because we do not exactly know the final outcome, we are learning by doing and sharing”.

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