In 2006, Dr. Behrokh Khoshnevis, professor at the University of Southern California, introduced the world to Contour Crafting: the idea of applying Computer Aided Design and 3D Printing to homes and eventually larger buildings. As Dr. Khoshnevis explains in this TED Talk, Contour Crafting uses a giant 3D printer that hangs over a designated space and robotically builds up the walls of that building with layers of concrete. The robot can paint the walls and tile surfaces and even knows to construct plumbing and electrical wiring as it goes (Dvice). The idea is that by automating the construction process - one of the only processes humans still do largely by hand - homes will be cheaper and more quickly erected, with significantly lower labor costs. More importantly, Khoshnevis believes that Contour Crafting is essential to creating a more "dignified" architecture by eliminating slums in developing countries and aiding areas in the immediate aftermath of a natural disaster.
While Dr. Khoshnevis continues to develop Contour Craft, Dutch architect Janjaap Ruijssenaars has already come up with the first house design that can be printed using this up-and-coming technology.
More after the break...
The Landscape House is in the form of a continuous looping Möbius strip that folds back onto itself in a "seamless undulating band" (The Guardian). What makes this design unique is that it is composed of layers of printed sand fused together by chemical agents rather than concrete, the material favored by Dr. Khoshnevis. Working with mathematician and artist Rinus Roelofs and Italian engineer Enrico Dini, Ruijssenaars intends to cut out the middle man and give full control over the construction process to the architect. They believe that the 3D printer can revolutionize the architecture industry by offering never-before-seen precision and the ability to compose complex concave-convex surfaces that would normally require expensive prefabrication. However, rather than taking the predicted 24 hours to print and boasting the significantly lower price tag that comes with it, the Landscape House will take an estimated 18 months to construct and will cost around 4-5 million Euro. This raises questions about the timeliness and costliness of Contour Crafting but, on the other hand, provides a more personalized and luxurious alternative to the standard mass housing its creator proposes. With Ruijssenaars' landmark design and ongoing development by Dr. Behrokh Khoshnevis, it is only a matter of time before Contour Crafting becomes a realizable architectural phenomenon.
Read our earlier reports on Contour Crafting here!