Ithaca, New York-based design studio Hannah has begun work on Cores, a building in Houston that it says will be the first multi-story 3D-printed structure to be completed in the United States.
The hybrid structure is constructed from 3D printed concrete combined with a timber frame and was designed as a multi-story single-family home.
With 4,000 square feet (371 square meters) of living space, the house is intended to be scalable and compatible with typical wood frame constructions.
“The project showcases the possibilities of 3D printing technology, mass customization, and design solutions that incorporate conventional construction methods,” Hannah said.
“With a hybrid construction method that combines concrete 3D printing with wood framing, this approach allows both material systems to be used strategically and aims to increase the applicability of 3D printing in the United States. Unis, where framing is one of the most common construction techniques,” says Hannah.
Hannah’s concept includes a series of printed “cores” that contain stairwells and functional spaces for the structure.
These spatial cores will then be connected by a wooden frame to fill the structure.
The team worked with the US branch of Germany-based 3D construction firm PERI 3D Construction as well as engineering firm CIVE to design the house, using a COBOD BOD2 gantry printer and printable concrete for construction.
A closed cell foam system was used to insulate the house.
Cores was designed to be modular, and the designers hope the concept will be applied to other multi-family and mixed-use buildings in the future.
“The project also highlights the exciting design potential of mass-customized architectural components to meet owners’ needs and simplify building system integration,” Hannah said.
“These design efforts aim to increase the impact, applicability, sustainability, and cost-effectiveness of 3D printing for future residential and multi-family buildings in the United States.”
The structure will take 220 hours to print, Hannah said, and the studio will move the printer to three separate locations during the process to accommodate the linear site.
Renderings of the completed project show a raw concrete exterior layered with metal panels and windows aligned with the print gradient.
The development of 3D printed homes has become increasingly common in recent years.
Last year, Logan Architecture and construction company ICON completed the first 3D-printed homes for sale in the United States.
According to ICON, 3D-printed homes can be a good buffer against natural disasters with resilient materials and modular construction methods.
While concrete is commonly used for printing, companies have also experimented with using materials such as earth for designs.
Hannah was founded by Leslie Lok and Sasa Zivkovic, assistant professors at Cornell’s School of Architecture.
The studio previously designed a cabin in New York using a 3D-printed foundation and ash wood salvaged from a beetle infestation.
The photography is by Anthony Vu.