Architects and designers have utilized 3D printing technology as part of their work for many years, but it is only now that an architect has come forward with a design for an actual, habitable residence using that same technology.
Dutch architect Janjaap Ruijssenaars of Universe Architects has designed a residence in collaboration with mathematician and artist Rinus Roelofs that they hope to begin construction on using a 3D printer by 2014.
The design for the building, the Landscape House, has been getting as much curiosity as the mode by which the designers plan to produce it. Based on the concept of a Moebius Strip – a single length of any material that forms a continuous loop with just one side – the Landscape House takes the form of a twisted but continuous loop in which the floor becomes the ceiling and the ceiling the floor.
Ruijssenaars explains that he and his colleagues at Universe Architects first became fascinated with the concept after being inspired by the scenery they saw when in Ireland in 2009. “We didn’t want to influence the landscape, so asked the question if it was possible to make something that resembled the landscape, something that does not have a beginning or an end,” says Ruijssenaars.
Ruijssenaars began working with Rinus Roelofs at the start of 2012 on the project. They were attracted to using 3D-printing technology because of the complexity of their design for the Landscape House. Roelofs had already been collaborating with the designer behind the 3D-printer they plan on creating the house with, Italian robotics expert Enrico Dini.
Dini, who refers to himself as a ‘stone alchemist’, designed the D-Shape printer, which he hopes will transform the world of construction. The machine uses a stereolithography 3D printing process that uses sand and an inorganic binder to generate full-size, sandstone based objects. “By simply pressing the “enter” key on the keypad we intend to give the architect the possibility make buildings directly, without intermediaries who can add interpretation and realization mistakes,” proclaims the D-Shape website.
It was this flexibility to realize an exact copy of the design that intrigued Ruijssenaars: “It is very complex to make a form such as this using traditional methods – it would involve using molds and so on. With a 3D printer you can build the house seamlessly from bottom to top.”
Ruijssenaars and his colleagues at Universe Architects are hoping that every country in the world will eventually have its own Landscape House: “For now our most serious request has come for a visitors centre at a national park in Brazil, but we would love to be able to get an assignment from the U.S. for a private house or a museum.”
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The Dutch designer says that there has already been a welcome stream of positive attention, which he is no stranger to. His previous creation, a levitating bed that uses repelling magnets to float 16 in. above the floor, was nominated by TIME as one of the best inventions of 2006.