Beijing architecture firm HuaShang Tengda has reached a new milestone in the rise of 3D-printed buildings. The firm printed an entire 4,300-square-foot home in just 45 days, and the villa’s thick concrete walls are sturdy enough to sustain a magnitude eight earthquake.
The company developed their own printing technology to construct the concrete home on-site in it’s entirety, unlike other firms that print building sections in a factory and later put them together.
First, construction workers prepared the site and installed the building’s frame, plumbing, and rebar supports. Then, HuaShang Tengda broke out the printer, controlling its output through four separate systems governing "electronic ingredient formulating," mixing the concrete, controlling the transmission, and finally the 3D-printing.
A specially designed split nozzle spits out concrete simultaneously on the interior and exterior sides of the rebar supports, creating a sturdy construction.
Roughly 20 tons of concrete went into building the home, making walls up to eight feet thick. Seismic testing then demonstrated the strength of this construction, showing that the villa would hold up well to all but the most extreme earthquake conditions.
China’s 7.9-magnitude Sichuan earthquake in 2008—one of the strongest and deadliest in a century—claimed roughly 80,000 lives. HuaShang Tengda hopes that the affordability and speed of their 3D-printed construction will make safer homes more available throughout China.