Building printing

Besides plastics and metals there are also other materials that can be used for 3D printing, like for example concrete. Contour crafting is a technique that can be used for this kind of printing. It can be compared with FDM for plastics. With a giant nozzle a dense high-performance concrete will be added layer by layer. With this method walls can be formed. You can find an example in the picture beneath. The main advantages are the following:

  • Hollow walls to make it lighter
  • Higher strength than traditional housing walls
  • Curved walls can be printed
  • Savings in materials and human labour
  • Fewer CO2 emissions and less energy consumption


The contour crafting machine is equipped witch a robotic arm that can place steel I-beams on the correct place to create doorways and windows. However, the machine is not entirely autonomous. There are still construction workers needed for the preparation and finishing.

This idea was invented by professor Behrokh Khoshnevis. What is your opinion?




4 thoughts on “Building printing

  1. Hi jimmy,

    I must say, I was really surprised when I read your article. I didn’t know this was possible just yet. Do there already exist houses that have been constructed in this way? And are they inhabited? Also, how long does it take for a house to be printed like this? But if I interpret this correctly, only the walls can be constructed in this way? The roof and everything else still has to be done manually?

    In my opinion, this will soon be the everyday principle for building a house. If its time and material saving, stronger and less polluting! Printing everything is the (not so far) future, and this is already a great example of how it can be implemented in everyday life. If houses can already be printed, where will it even end! I’m very curious to see where the future will take us!

  2. This seems like a really interesting technique that might have an influence on the future of building houses. Is this already present in Belgium or Europe? And how do you see it be implemented in today’s society, because lots of masons might lose their job over this. There are still people needed to supervise the machine and do some finishing but there is no real craftmenship needed anymore.


    • In this reply I will give an answer and my opinion on the two comments because there are some similarities. Up till now there are no 3D printed houses. But there are architects that want to build the first 3D-printed house in Amsterdam. This will function as a showcase and research centre for 3D-printing technology. (

      My opinion is that building printing in the near future mainly will be used by innovative architects to show the possibilities of 3D printing. It can also be used to build low cost small houses in third world countries or on places where nature has struck. So with a large 3D printer and a couple of skilled workers a lot of houses can be made to help the local people.

      On a long-term building printing will be more attractive to the prosperous countries. Because now a lot of masons come across the border to work here. If the local masons will be trained to operate a 3D printer, than they will not lose their job. Eventually a machine will replace the cheap masons and the total price will stay the same. At least that’s what I think.

  3. If this technique gets fully developed in the future and almost every kind of building could be build with this it is certainly very promising. Also the fact that lesser masons are necessary means that there is a potential of saving costs in building a house. In Belgium this can have a big effect on the total price of the house because manpower is very expensive here. On the other hand this costsavings depend on how expensive this machine together with the costs of the operator will be. Still nice idea to see your house getting printed in the future but personally I think we won’t see this technique anymore in Belgium because there is a shortage of land.

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