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The Suprising Ways Architects Are Using 3D Printers

(The Atlantic) Why bother printing houses when building them with lumber or bricks and mortar has served humanity’s needs for hundreds of years? There are three key benefits. The first is that 3D printing is cheaper. As a design becomes more complex, the cost of 3D printing drops substantially relative to traditional building methods.

It is also safer for both the people building the houses and for those living in them. Structures with curves are stronger. Pillars with greater density towards their edges are sturdier. And fewer construction workers means fewer injuries and deaths.

But perhaps the best part about 3D-printing houses is that it lets architects dream up all sorts of fantastic structures that would be either too difficult or too expensive to make with conventional methods. A 3D-printed house wouldn’t need to conform to our traditional ideas of what a home looks like (which makes DUS Architects’ design look rather unadventurous). Indeed, that would be to miss the point.

It’s what architects like Frank Gehry and Le Corbusier first imagined possible with concrete, except that 3D printing has the potential to be several orders of magnitude cheaper, easier and more efficient.