By now, anybody that follows news from the 3D print community will have heard about Canal House from DUS Architects. A full sized building being constructed from 3D printed blocks in Amsterdam based on the homes owned by the rich merchants that once populated the city, it brings together historically significant architectural concepts and the most cutting edge, modern manufacturing techniques.
While the construction of the real one continues in the Dutch capital, a miniature, kid-friendly version popped up this week. Created by ten communities from 3D Hubs, the world’s largest collaborative 3D printer network, it stands 5 foot tall and is made up of 220 printed blocks.
A slimmed down, bright orange replica of the DUS Architects’ design, it’s perfect for children to play in. Printed in 30 Kg of PLA in 15 days, 3D Hubs CEO Bram de Zwart describes the piece as evidence of the unique, collaborative potential of the technology:
This partnership demonstrates what can happen when you combine unique design with an online maker community and digital fabrication techniques to build locally created, large-scale 3D printed objects in a very short amount of time.
For the team at DUS Architects, however, the goal of Canal House is something rather loftier. They are amongst an increasingly large and vocal group of architects that see 3D printing as the future of a more sustainable, more cost effective, safer and faster construction industry.
By printing buildings from CAD files using large machines with large build volumes, such as the 2m x 2m x 3.5m offered by the KamerMaker (RoomBuilder) that is being used on the Canal House, workplace accidents and waste would both be reduced dramatically, while many of the world’s most disenfranchised people could gain access to safe housing.
Speaking about 3D Hubs’ tribute to the project, DUS Architects Martine De Wit says:
The miniature 3D print Canal House is special to us in many ways, as it is the first time one of our designs has been entirely digitally fabricated by a large community of makers without our physical presence. 3D printing can have huge implications for the way products are fabricated and we are proud to be at the forefront of investigating what the implications of 3D printing are for the building industry.