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3D Printing Concrete House / Professor XU Weiguo‘s team from the Tsinghua University School of Architecture

3D Printing Concrete House / Professor XU Weiguo‘s team from the Tsinghua University School of Architecture

Completion, perspective from the South. Image © XWG Archi Studio at Tsinghua UniversityPhoto after hoisting of the roofs. Image © XWG Archi Studio at Tsinghua UniversityEntrance of the house. Image © XWG Archi Studio at Tsinghua UniversityPrinting the arch component. Image © XWG Archi Studio at Tsinghua University+ 18

Wuxi, China
  • Architect In Charge:Weiguo Xu
  • Design Team:Weiguo Xu, Yuan Gao, Chenwei Sun, Zhi Wang, Yuting He, Xiayu Zhao, Dong Han, Zhiling Zhang, Fang Cui
  • City:Wuxi
  • Country:China
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Completion, perspective from the South. Image © XWG Archi Studio at Tsinghua University
Completion, perspective from the South. Image © XWG Archi Studio at Tsinghua University

Text description provided by the architects. A team from the Tsinghua University School of Architecture led by professor Xu Weiguo has independently researched and developed a “Mobile Platform of Robotic 3D Printing in Concrete” and a “Rapid Construction System for Concrete Houses”. Recently, the two technological achievements have been successfully applied in the actual printing/construction of a model house for low-income housing in Africa, resulting in a genuine 3D printed concrete building being completed at the Experimental Base of Wuxi Research Institute of Applied Technologies Tsinghua University.

Photo after hoisting of the roofs. Image © XWG Archi Studio at Tsinghua University
Photo after hoisting of the roofs. Image © XWG Archi Studio at Tsinghua University
axonometric
axonometric
View from top. Image © XWG Archi Studio at Tsinghua University
View from top. Image © XWG Archi Studio at Tsinghua University

The “Rapid Construction System for Concrete Houses” is designed specifically for low-income families in Africa. With an area of 40㎡, the house contains a porch, a guest dining room, bedrooms, a kitchen, and a bathroom, etc., meeting the living demand of up to 4 individuals. The porch, kitchen, and bathroom are arranged on one side of the house, forming a rectangular unit; the guest dining room and bedrooms are arranged on the other, with a light partition wall or storage furniture in the middle separating the two parts. The layout of the house is flexible so that it can adapt to actual living requirements. The roof consists of two-barrel arches, among which one is larger than the other, covering respectively the above-mentioned spaces while creating a spacious and comfortable indoor environment underneath. A Floor-to-ceiling window is installed on both the south and the north side of the house while a skylight is used in the kitchen roof, providing ample lighting for the indoor space. The exterior walls adopted the traditional local woven texture as decoration, which was printed altogether with the wall structure by the robotic 3-D printing equipment. The thermal insulation material is poured into the gap within the wall, forming an integrative exterior wall system with decoration, structure, and insulation all in one. The building comes with a simple and modern architectural image while responding to the local cultural traditions.

Printing the walls outdoor. Image © XWG Archi Studio at Tsinghua University
Printing the walls outdoor. Image © XWG Archi Studio at Tsinghua University
Printing at night. Image © XWG Archi Studio at Tsinghua University
Printing at night. Image © XWG Archi Studio at Tsinghua University

The “Mobile Platform of Robotic 3-D Printing in Concrete” contains a mobile robotic arm with a 3-D printing device, a rail with a mobile lift platform, and a dragging-suspending platform, etc. In the 3-D printing device, the robotic arm and the printing front-end are installed and designed to be movable on the lift platform. The printing material, the appending machine, the stirring and pumping all-in-one machine, and the control equipment, on the other hand, are installed on the dragging-suspending platform. In order to print/construct a whole house, the printing platform requires only two persons pushing buttons on the mobile platform. While substantially integrating and simplifying the technique of 3-D printing in concrete, it reduces the human input in the printing/construction process to a minimum. This printing platform enables direct, on-site printing of all bases, walls, and roofs, resulting in rapid construction at a low cost.

Entrance of the house. Image © XWG Archi Studio at Tsinghua University
Entrance of the house. Image © XWG Archi Studio at Tsinghua University

Currently, the team led by professor Xu Weiguo has moved on to Wujiazhuang Village in Xiahuayuan District, Zhangjiakou City, Hebei Province. There they are conducting a 3-D printing/construction experiment for dwellings in rural China, specifically on the actual printing of the Juanzi House in the village. The Juanzi House is a five-bay farmhouse in which three are relatively larger than the other two. The three larger ones are to function as living room and bedrooms with barrel arches as their roof. The two smaller ones are to serve as kitchen and bathroom with a flattop. 3 sets of mobile platforms are being used in the printing of the farmhouse, which is located right in the middle of the 3 larger bays. The base, walls, and roof of the house are being printed on-site simultaneously. Currently, it is still under construction.

Interior of the kitchen. Image © Yipeng Liu
Interior of the kitchen. Image © Yipeng Liu
Interior of the living room. Image © Yipeng Liu
Interior of the living room. Image © Yipeng Liu

Poverty Alleviation and rural reconstruction are important tasks for our current social development. However, most of our current rural reconstruction merely achieved improvements in the public environment, such as road construction and repair, laying of municipal pipelines, facade redecoration of residential houses, and so on. The fact of the matter is, living spaces and indoor living conditions of these rural houses remain without any substantial transformation. The “Mobile Platform of Robotic 3-D Printing in Concrete” and the “Rapid Construction System for Concrete Houses” on the other hand, can rebuild rural houses one-by-one in an organic renewal fashion, therefore significantly contribute to the rural housing construction.

Printing the arch component. Image © XWG Archi Studio at Tsinghua University
Printing the arch component. Image © XWG Archi Studio at Tsinghua University

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Cite: "3D Printing Concrete House / Professor XU Weiguo‘s team from the Tsinghua University School of Architecture" 20 Mar 2021. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/949068/3d-printing-concrete-house-for-the-low-income-families-in-africa-professor-xu-weiguos-team-from-thad> ISSN 0719-8884
Completion, perspective from the Southeast. Image © XWG Archi Studio at Tsinghua University

3D打印混凝土住宅-非洲低收入住宅 / 清华大学建筑学院徐卫国教授团队

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