3D Print Canal House: A Success Story


In Amsterdam, a house is being printed. After one year of construction, the experiment has become a serious company, which will change 3D printing.

(c) DUS architects
(c) DUS Architects

The 3D Print Canal House is one of the first projects worldwide, which tries to print a house completely out of bio-plastics. “When we started out, one year ago, everything was all a lot smaller,” remembers Tosja Backer, Expo Manager of the Canal House. “Now, things have taken a flight.” One year ago the architects Hedwig Heinsmann and Hans Vermeulen from DUS Architects set up the “KamerMaker”, a 18 feet tall 3D printer, in Amsterdam, just in sight of the central station. Since March 2014 it was standing there, printing, layer by layer, construction parts out of sustainable plastics. Composed they would give whole rooms for the first 3D print canal house. Now, a second printer is already on site. The “KamerMaker 2.0” has the size of a shipping container and will be able to print whole rooms in one go.

First houses in China

But things have not only gone bigger in Amsterdam. 3D printing is on the march worldwide. The company Skanska, the international architect’s office Foster & Partners and the University of Loughborough announced, that they will soon begin to print houses out of concrete. The Chinese company WinSun has already been leading the way, printing the first houses out of concrete and construction waste. Ten of them in less then 24 hours. “First of all we think that this is great”, says Backer. “Now there is a global awareness.” But knowing that new large scale projects are appearing elsewhere also helped her team to focus on their specialty: “We really focus on new bio-based materials, freedom of form and design. It has definitely been giving us a focus to know that this is happening at other places.” In the first interview architect Heinsmann shed the light on one of the preferences when printing with plastics: “If you don’t like the form anymore, you just melt it down and print something new.”

Visit us: “It will blow your mind”

To just fast-print a house is not the goal of DUS Architects. “We have been given a time frame until march 2017”, says Backer. “We want to use this time to experiment as much as we can and consistently improve the way of printing. It is not about being fast at printing a house. But in the end, we will of course present something.”

(c) Dave de Vaal
US-Präsident Obama and the mayor of Amsterdam, van der Laan, visit the 3D Print Canal House (c) Dave de Vaal

Already the “construction site” of the 3D Print Canal House is a people magnet. About 1.000 visitors come by every month, including company groups, experts, schools or just tourists. Even the Lonely Planet is mentioning the site, waiting for visitors to “blow their mind”. It’s most famous visitor was for sure US-president Barack Obama: “He is a big fan of 3-D-printing”, says Backer. “As far as I know, he thought it was a good project.” Read how everything started: “The 3D Print Canal House in Amsterdam – Smart Cities Consulting” For further information visit: 3D Print Canal House Foto Titel: DUS Architects

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