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France 3D Prints Social Housing

Ville de Nantes | 1:54

France 3D Prints Social Housing

Peter Smisek

23 April 2018

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FRENCH researchers have unveiled a 3D printed social housing prototype in Nantes, western France.

Called “Yhnova”, the 95 square metre (1,022 square foot) house was developed by the University of Nantes, the region Nantes Métropole and social housing provider Nantes Métropole Habitat.

A specially patented method called “BatiPrint 3D” (“bâtiment” is French for building) is used to construct the building.

In this instance, a robot prints two layers of formwork using layers of expanding spray-foam material. The walls are then plastered over to create a smooth finish. 

Above and Below: The new 3D printing method developed for this project consists of two layers of insulating foam, which become formwork for in-situ poured concrete (images courtesy of Ville de Nantes). 

This solidified foam also acts as insulation, eliminating any thermal bridging in the facade.

Built in a matter of days, the Yhnova house is meant to demonstrate the viability of 3D printing in building affordable, adaptable and energy efficient housing.

Above and Below: Yhnova house still requires conventionally constructed foundations and the walls need to be plastered once they are printed (images courtesy of Ville de Nantes and Nantes University).

Engineers are not only saving time, they hope to reduce the amount of physically strenuous work, reduce CO2 emissions by 75% and achieve a 50% reduction in embodied energy by using this method.

Above and Below: The finished house is set to welcome its first inhabitants later in 2018 (images courtesy of University of Nantes).

A large family - the house has four bedrooms - will be chosen from the city’s social housing waiting list and given keys to the new house in July.

In the meantime, the building will be fitted out with sensors in order to monitor internal air quality, humidity and temperature while material degradation, thermal and acoustic qualities will also be assessed.

The development and construction of Yhnova house cost USD $232,000, and was partially sponsored by commercial partners including Bouygues and Lafarge Holcim. 


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