The Kenyan town of Kilifi will soon be able to boast the world's largest 3D-printed affordable housing complex. The developer 14Trees announced it had finished printing the community's first ten houses. The new technology was adopted for the Mvule Gardens 3D-printed housing project, enabling fast construction of affordable and sustainable homes.
One of 3D printing's main benefits is that no material was wasted in building a home's walls. The materials used to make the 3D houses included locally sourced cement. Cement and natural hydraulic lime solutions were used to cover pressure levels for high print speed capacity. It also used TectorPrint, an innovative 3D printing ink range tailored to complex residential buildings and infrastructure applications.
The neighborhood, Mvule Gardens, will feature 52 homes with either two or three bedrooms. Each has a front porch and a private backyard. Using just one 3D printer, 14Trees can print the walls for a two-bedroom house in 18 hours, with three bedrooms taking an additional 10 hours. Pricing for the 3D-printed homes starts at KES 3,610,000 (around USD 28,000). For comparison, the average price of a 2-bedroom house in Kilifi is KES 4,900,000 (USD 38,000).
14Trees is a joint venture between Holcim, a Swiss manufacturer of building materials, and British International Investment. The partnership was forged to commercialize green building solutions in African countries facing deforestation in part due to the demand for wood used to produce traditional bricks.
With demand outstripping supply worldwide, the global housing crisis could impact 1.6 billion people by 2025. And the shortage is especially acute when it comes to affordable housing. Meanwhile, increased construction puts additional pressure on resources.