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Germany prints its first social housing apartment block

by Mark Cantrell
Germany has claimed a first with the construction of a social housing apartment block built using 3D printing techniques

Germany has claimed a first with the construction of a social housing apartment block built using 3D printing techniques.

The building, said to be the first to combine the conditions of public housing subsidies with the innovative construction method, is located in the city of Lünen in the North Rhine-Westphalia region.

It’s not just a first for Germany; its also claimed to be the first 3D printed publicly funded apartment block in Europe.

The apartment building will contain three floors each with two apartment units for a total of six units ranging from 61m2 and 81m2. The total build area will be 651 m2.

Ina Scharrenbach, minister for home affairs, municipal affairs, construction and digitalization for the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, said: “With the pioneering project in Lünen, we are showing that public housing can be built quickly, modernly and sustainably despite these challenging times. North Rhine-Westphalia is setting standards in construction and continuing to push for more affordable housing.”

The building project is being carried out by PERI 3D Construction using the 3D construction printers of COBOD.

Fabian Meyer-Brötz, managing director of PERI 3D Construction GmbH, said: “We are pleased to be able to demonstrate once again how quickly, efficiently and in a resource-saving manner the 3D printer can create living space, and what potential is also opening up in the multi-family house segment. We are convinced that the technology is already ready for widespread use on modern construction sites, and especially for social housing projects.”

Germany’s first publicly funded multi-family house is being constructed using 3D printing in the North Rhine-Westphalian city of Lünen

The first floor and the second floor are built using the 3D concrete printing process. The top floor is being built using a timber hybrid construction method. The foundation, the base and the filigree slabs will be built using conventional construction methods. The facade structure on the first floor and upper floor retains the original printed concrete structure. The top floor will be cladded using façade panels.

Henrik Lund-Nielsen, founder and general manager of COBOD International, said: “This project continues the trend that we have seen the last couple of years, where the technology has made some remarkable leaps forward, moving away from just being used for small houses on one floor to also being used for larger and larger projects with multiple floors, also outside the residential market. PERI’s German projects in 2023 including the data centre, football club house, and now an apartment building are a testament to this trend.”

According to the UN Habitat, the world needs to build 96,000 new affordable homes every day to house the estimated three billion people who will need access to adequate housing by 2030.

This challenge is driven by multiple factors including housing costs rising faster than growth in incomes. Adherents of the technology claim 3D printing holds the promise to address this gap by reducing construction costs while increasing speed of construction through automation.

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