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The printer creates two parallel concrete walls with a cavity, that can be filled with insulation, Source: STRABAG/PERI

First 3D printed building in Austria opens the possibilities for new architecture

First 3D printed building in Austria opens the possibilities for new architecture

The construction phase of the new building was completed in 45 hours

On 28 October, the construction of the first 3D printed building in Austria began in the town of Haulstein. The new building was completed in 45 hours by the developer ‘Peri’, a company with experience in 3D printed buildings, with a few projects in Germany. The structure is an addition to the headquarters of the Austrian construction firm ‘Strabag’.

A possible new wave in architecture  

In the past, new architectural ideas usually came through the adoption of new materials and new construction methods. This was the case with the original Bauhaus movement, which came about because of improved steel and concrete technology, enabling developers to build higher and lighter structures.

According to representatives of ‘Peri’, this could change with the wider adoption of 3D printed buildings. The vertical position of the printer head allows architects to use rounded shapes, as the machine pours up to one metre of concrete per second. It also layers the material gradually, adding a very specific texture to both the exterior and the interior.

Robots coming to take our jobs again?

The lightning-fast construction process of the building, 45 hours, stirs up quite an excitement for the future. Specialists uploaded the construction plan into the printer software, to break it down into manageable chunks.

At the same time, the machine could not produce the building in one single go, and construction workers were on-site to install pipes, electrical wires, windows, etc. This is why the CEO of ‘Strabag’, Thomas Birthel, thinks that it is unlikely 3D printed construction will take away jobs from the industry.

In fact, he sees it as a way to make construction more efficient and more exciting for newer generations, with the added digitalisation. According to him, the printer offers a possibility to counteract specific labour shortages in the more manual fields of construction.   

He was quoted in a press release, saying: "3D printing is currently only suitable for construction projects up to a certain size, so well-trained skilled workers remain crucial for the successful implementation of construction projects. Furthermore, 3D concrete printing provides an important innovation impulse for the construction industry and is an exciting addition to other construction methods.”

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