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3D Print Canal House - DUS architects

The architects of DUS make unique architecture with a global attitude. Founded in 2004 by M. Arch Hedwig Heinsman, M. Arch Hans Vermeulen and M. Arch Martine de Wit, DUS designs things that will make you feel at home in the world – ranging from your favourite coffee mug to the neighbourhood in which you live. Architecture is a craft, according to DUS, and all of their work has a very personal touch. This is especially shown in their most recent project: the 3D Print Canal House, in which a whole canal house is being 3D printed in order to research how digital fabrication techniques can revolutionise the building industry and lead to new, tailor-made housing solutions worldwide.

3D printing is a fascinating new production technique. It allows you to directly translate a digital file into a physical product. 3D printing can have huge implications for the way we design things. It allows you to create many different unique designs, thus bringing design to the masses, and free the industry from standardisation, turning it into a more demand-driven market. It can also have huge implications for the way we fabricate things – the technique is very clean and uses very little energy. You produce almost no waste and eliminate the need for transportation to and from the factory. Because it allows you to share files globally, most transportation happens digitally anyway! Just imagine.. What can this technique do for architecture? What if we can 3D print buildings?        

It was this research question that lead  to DUS architects embarking on the adventure of of 3D printing the world’s very first full scale canal house. The project was officially launched in March 2014. The aim of the project is to research all the facets of 3D printing large scale architecture. The project takes place on an open, publically accessible building site in Amsterdam, which besides being a public attraction also serves as a platform where an international team of partners from various sectors works together and shares knowledge. The project takes three years and evolves around 6 ‘R&DO’s’ - ‘Research & Doing’. The building site is designed as a growing exhibition. The feedback from audiences generates input for research and market explorations: a live user test and feedback loop that intensifies and accelerates the research process on:

1. Parametric design

2. XL printing: developent of the KamerMaker (self-developed XL FDM printer)

3. Development of new bio-based and sustainable materials

4. New construction methods and techniques

5. Integration of smart technology

6. Global customizable design

The 3D Print Canal House is made of 13 rooms that each consist of several printed elements. Each room showcases a research update in shape, structure and material. The rooms are first assembled and tested before finally being constructed into the final house.

The 3D Print Canal House has just drawn a close to its first very successful year. It has received media attention from all continents and has been a host location to over 12,000 visitors who all got inspired, shared or contributed knowledge. A huge advancement has been made in among others new construction techniques, printing techniques and material development, and this is now taken to an even higher level. The aim is to serve as a catalyst for large scale 3D printing initiatives worldwide, and to ultimately make unique tailor-made large scale design and architecture available to everyone.