In this latest attempt at one-upmanship in the realm of rapid construction, a company in China has built a two-story villa from six modules, putting the 3D-printed pieces together on site with conventional equipment in under three hours.
In a country already boasting the world’s first 3D-printed apartment complex and 10 3D-printed houses assembled in a single day from scrap materials, this latest contender is located in the historical city of Xi’an. A product of the ZhuoDa group, the building boasts robust earthquake-proof construction and impressive affordability thanks in part to cost savings associated with the methods employed (around $40-50 per square foot). 90% of the construction is completed off-site, the components then shipped by truck to their destination.
Part of the strength of the structure is tied to its modular construction – each of the 6 constituent architectural subunits is structurally independent, able to survive stress and shifts relative to the whole.
The core material used in the 3D-printing process has been kept secret, but the company has indicated this new custom composite is sourced from industrial and agricultural waste, is fireproof and waterproof, and is free from harmful substances such as formaldehyde, ammonia, and radon.
On the day of the build, the living room was put together, then the bedroom, kitchen and bathroom, all on the first floor. Next, the terrace, bedroom and utility rooms on the second floor were assembled. The result is a rapid construction process that reduces air and noise pollution for neighbors.
A prefabrication time of just 10 days for the core modules also compares favorably with typical on-site construction times ranging up to 6 months for a structure of comparable size, quality and durability (the estimated lifespan of the structures is 150 years). Variable finished looks will allow homebuyers to customize their individual houses, selecting mixtures for surfaces that simulate the textures and appearance of exotic and expensive materials including jade, wood, granite or marble.