– A small office hotel in Copenhagen’s Nordhavn.
In the spring of 2017 an idea came to life for our team – we should make the first building in Europe made with 3D construction printing. We came to realize that Europe was falling behind, as neither in Denmark nor elsewhere in Europe could a 3D printed building be found, and we believed that the strict building codes found here could be part of the reason for the lack of such a building.
On September 11 at 15.00, we invite all interested parties to visit our Open House arrangement for our fully permitted building project, where you can see our 8*8*6 meter 3D construction printer print the building live on the spot.
The building or printing of Europe’s first 3D-printed building is a demonstration project documenting how 3D printing technology can be applied for constructions in Europe, still fulfilling the usual strict European building codes. Thus, the purpose is not to showcase the particular 3D Construction printer that we have made, rather it is to demonstrate that 3D printing technology can be used for constructing a building in a European context.
The inspiration to the idea came from our participation in the Danish government funded project “3D Construction Printing” (www.3dprintbyggeri.dk), during which we together with a. o. NCC Construction, Force Institute and Gypsum Recycling visited more than 35 3D construction printing projects worldwide.
After having made all these visits to foreign projects and hosting a conference on 3D Construction Printing in February 28 with 160 participants, the partners concluded that the best possible way to promote the use of 3D print technology in the European construction industry, would be to demonstrate that 3D printing a building in Europe would indeed be possible, and the strict European building codes could still be fulfilled. We at 3D Printhuset took on the challenge of doing this.
Then the process began of identifying the site to print on and develop a concrete printer to European norms. Following that materials testing and experimenting with concrete recipes were made to arrive at the perfect recipe for 3D Construction Printing here. Finally we had to get the proposed building approved, establish pilotage underneath the site, lay the basis foundation on which to print the building on and put up a tent above it for the 3D construction printer.
The building permit has been received and the first 3D printed building in Europe can now be printed according to European standards.
The BOD Building
The BOD will be a 3D printed small office hotel of less than 50 square meters located in Copenhagen’s Nordhavn,
The BOD, which is short for “Building on Demand” is named precisely so to underline that with 3D printing technology applied for building projects, the building process is automatized and the borders for what can be made are hereby expanded. Even if the BOD is less than a 50 sqm building, it is still large enough to illustrate some of the economical and architectural advantages of applying 3D printing technology to constructions. With traditional building techniques any shape that is organic or non-straight is a challenge, technically as well as with respect to costs. The BOD does not contain any straight lines or walls, the only straight elements being the windows and doors, as with 3D construction printing low cost automatized fabrication of organic shapes is possible. Even when making the foundation, a non-straight shape provides expensive and difficult challenges when using the traditional methods, which is why for The BOD building we not only are 3D printing the walls, but also part of the foundation.
The BOD is located at Kattegatvej 2, 2150 Nordhavn, and The BOD has a prominent position right on the corner of Kattegatvej and the new Ocean Road, which leads to the new cruise terminals receiving 0,5 million guests per year.
The building will contain a few workspaces that will be rented as an office hotel for companies and organizations that will work in and around the port in Nordhavn.
To minimize the cost of the demonstration project, a small building has been chosen, but at the same time The BOD is large enough to demonstrate the architectural freedom and possibilities that come with the application of 3D printing technology to the building. The building will thus appear very organic, as the BOD has no single line that will be straight, except for the doors and windows, and the sloped roof adds to the uniqueness of the building.
Materials and Environmental Footprint
The BOD will also demonstrate how 3D printing makes a more efficient use of materials possible. Due to the 3D printing, the amount of waste generated will be
reduced compared to constructing the building the traditional way. In addition as the concrete recipe used for the 3D printing contains a large amount of recycled tiles and sand, the concrete applied is more environmental friendly compared to traditional concrete. Finally, all walls of The BOD will be insulated with recycled cellulose fiber from re-used building packaging.
Schedule / Timing
The basis foundation has been made and 3D printing of the top foundation and wall has begun. To celebrate that the construction of Europe’s first 3D printed building has begun, on Monday, September 11, at 15.00 we host an open reception where both the press and all interested parties are welcome. Live 3D construction printing can be seen at the event.
In a little more than a month we expect that the shell with the roof is complete, while the entire building will be completed the following month.
Our Concrete Printer
The purpose of this demonstration project is not to promote the 3D concrete printer we have developed, but rather to promote how 3D construction printing can be applied in Europe fulfilling the European norms and standards. None the less, we can provide the following information about the 3D construction printer used for The BOD: The printer is of the “gantry” type and has a size of 8 x 8 x 6 meters. The printing speed is 2,5 meters/minute each layer is 50-70 mm
wide and has a height of 20mm. The printing material is concrete made to a large extent from recycled tiles and sand.
Potential of 3D Printed Construction
Application of 3D construction printing in the building sector may lead to several benefits.
There is app. 2 million tons of construction waste generated on an annual basis in Denmark. Application of 3D construction printing makes it possible to reduce this waste significantly, as this technology based on additive manufacturing and “made to fit”, thus only utilizing the designated material without producing waste.
At the same time, the construction industry has for many years been characterized by stagnant productivity and lack of automation. Bringing 3D printing technology to the Danish construction site could help solve this. Automating the building processes could further decrease any errors during construction and help lower on-site accidents.
Finally, the use of 3D printing technology makes it possible for the design of the buildings to be made more freely and less costly, especially for organic shapes. For the printer it does not matter whether straight lines or organic shapes has to be printed, complexity comes for free. Construction with organic shapes has always been a major challenge in traditional construction, and this may be overcome by the application of 3D construction printing.
Former Mayor of Copenhagen cut the red ribbon at the grand opening in Copenhagen of The BOD – Europe’s first 3D printed building
Former Mayor of Copenhagen, Jens Kramer Mikkelsen, cut the red ribbon at the grand opening of The BOD, which was attended by more than 100 attendees. The event marked, that 3D Printhuset had begun the construction of The BOD (“Building on Demand”), Europe’s first 3D printed building. The walls and the upper part of the foundation is being 3D printed, which could be seen live at the event.
The event was organized to celebrate that the construction had begun and had gathered a large amount of attendees and multiple representatives from the press, especially radio and TV. When cutting the red ribbon to The BOD, Jens Kramer Mikkelsen said: “As a former mayor and CEO of By & Havn I have attended quite many red ribbon cutting events at new constructions sites, but today we will see something special, which the large amount of attendees and press representatives here today is also verifying. Today we will with our own eyes be able to see Europe’s first 3D printed building being made just in front of us by the 3D printer. Today we are really seeing the future !”
At the event the attendees was given the opportunity to see the building site and live 3D printing of the upper part of the foundation, and was given an explanation of how the 3D printer applied is working and how The BOD building will be constructed.
When finished at the end of the fall, The BOD will serve as an office hotel. Although The BOD will only be a very small office hotel, Henrik Lund-Nielsen, CEO of 3D Printhuset, was convinced of the large importance of the building as a demonstration project. Henrik Lund-Nielsen said: “We are extremely proud to be doing this demonstration project, demonstrating for the first time in Europe, that a building can be made with 3D printing and still live up to the strong regulations we have here. We are not doing this project to promote the specific 3D printer that we are using, but to promote the use of 3D construction printing in general. We are convinced that this project will inspire others to also apply 3D construction printing to building projects in Europe.
The attendees were impressed with what they saw and for many the event was an eye opener to the future. Partner Hans Korsholm from Microshade said: “3D printing is definitively a new way of constructing buildings and I came here to see how it works. I was a bit skeptical in the beginning, but now I can see that this clearly works” and Bo Boje Olsen, Sales Manager at Altiflex added: “The sky’s the limit, I am really impressed”.
A couple of hours after the event ended, the upper part of the foundation was completed reaching a height of 60 cm. Next phases of the construction of The BOD include traditional casting of the floor and then the 3D printer will take over again and print the walls up to 4,5 meters tall.
The 3D printing has been completed
Now the 3D printing of the building has been done, some weeks after the planned completion date. The 3D printing itself gave very few problems, whereas there were multiple challenges in related areas, which delayed the 3D printing.
Henrik Lund-Nielsen, CEO at 3D Printhuset explains: “Realizing the delay we have had, perhaps we were too optimistic with our planning. However, it is very difficult to plan for problems that you have never tried before. This was the first time anybody applied this technology in Europe. Therefore it would also have been somewhat surprising, had it turned out that we had become world champions at it the first time we tried it. That said, we did manage to do what we set out to do and to make this demonstration project showing the usability of the technology. We are very proud that we managed that.”
While the 3D printing itself went relatively smoothly, the problems were encountered in other areas. Areas that the 3D printing was dependent upon. Jakob Jørgensen, CTO of 3D Printhuset explains: “The 3D printing went as we planned. Not counting the hours and days where the printer was standing still awaiting other problems to be solved, it only took the planned 50 hours to do the printing of the walls, but we had severe difficulties with the whole material handling prior to printing which delayed us. We were hit both by faulty material deliveries as well as equipment failures related to the material handling”.
The BOD is ready for use
The house has now become visible to everyone. The tent has been taken down and you can now see the white 3D printed building and its unique curved shapes at Kattegatvej 2 in Nordhavn.
The whole house has been plastered and painted white, except a few walls inside and outside, where you can see the characteristics of 3D printing in the form of the layered concrete. In addition, the interior is now ready for use.
The next step is to make the outdoor area around the building decent with a terrace, grass and trees.
Video of the 3D printing process
Partners and Sponsors
3D Printhuset A/S – Builder, Architect og Project Leader
Bunch Building Physics – Building advisor
AFM Rådgivende Ingeniører – Regulatory project review/ Coordinated on foundation
NCC, Force and Gips Recycling – Sparring partner
Aalborg Portland – Donated cement
Unicorn – Donated concrete
Norrecco – Donated recycled materials
O. B. Wiik – Donated tent for building site
Konstellation & Republica – Donated creative solution on the name for the building
C. C. Brun Enterprise A/S – Foundation supplier and advisor
Rationel Vinduer A/S – Donated windows and doors
PRIMEWOOL – Donated ceiling and wall insulation
Blendex – Donated outdoor sunscreening