IN: Inspiration


At the foundation of Mazlow’s hierarchy of needs lie shelter and food – the two essentials of human existence. With over 1 billion people now living in slums across the globe, innovative construction and housing strategies are becoming an increasing reality. Could 3D printing be a possible solution?


Revolutionary Research

Researchers at the University of Southern Carolina have been testing the capabilities of a giant 3D printer that could potentially be used to build a house from start to finish, in under 24 hours. Designed by the university’s Industrial and Systems Engineering professor, Behrokh Khoshnevis, the technology – known as ‘Contour Crafting’ – could very well be the answer to our contemporary housing crisis.

Utilising computer-aided design (CAD) and computer aided manufacturing (CAM), 3D printing removes the potential for human interference, streamlining the construction phase into a process that is fast, precise, and – compared to conventional construction methods – environmentally friendly.

The Potential Future of Affordable Housing

The hopes of those behind Contour Crafting, is that the technology will allow for the creation of entire neighbourhoods that provide people with dignified, structurally-sound, affordable housing. Another great offshoot of the technology is there will be no need to build rows and rows of identical houses, as the technology allows for architectural flexibility. All that is required are multiple architectural designs which can then be inputted into the computer program that runs the machine.

The Controversial Repercussions of Contour Crafting

Naturally, there are concerns around the economic impacts of technologies like Contour Crafting. What will it mean for the construction industry? In his TEDx talk, Behrokh Khoshnevis assures the audience that the world will survive such a massive shift in construction. “The reality is that a lot of new jobs can be created in this sector as well. Currently, women and the elderly do not have much opportunity to work in the construction industry. With new technologies like Contour Crafting, those groups of people can also be employed in [the] more creative activities of construction.”

He continues by noting, “At the beginning of the previous century, around 1900, 62% of American’s were farmers. Today, less than 1.5% of them are involved. The world did not come to an end as the result of utilisation of agricultural technologies. And the same will be true in the case of construction.”

One thing is clear: the potential of concrete is endless. Have you got an original idea that is just waiting to be realised?Enter the PPC Imaginarium today. Registration closes on 31 August.

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