Europe’s biggest 3D printer helps create an entire two-story house

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While 3D printing might be most commonly used to print smaller-sized models or prototypes, that doesn’t mean it can’t also be used to print larger objects. Much, much larger. In Belgium, Europe’s largest 3D printer was recently used to print an entire house. Unlike other 3D-printed houses we’ve covered (of which there are a handful), this one has two floors — making it one of the biggest and most ambitious 3D-printed housing projects we’ve seen.

“[We used a] gantry printer delivered by COBOD [based in Denmark],” Emiel Ascione, project manager at Kamp C, the firm behind the project, told Digital Trends. “It was their prototype BOD2 [printer]. A gantry printer operates basically like the most common small plastic printers and uses the same type of software, [but on a much larger scale]. The concrete, the silo, as well as the mixing and pumping installation. were delivered by our partner Weber.”

The enormous gantry printer, measuring 32 feet x 32 feet, was used to print the shell of the house. Additional features such as the roof and windows were then added the old-fashioned way. It boasts numerous innovative sustainable features, including solar panels and underfloor heating.

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What should we do with 45,000 half-empty public buildings?

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Could underutilized government offices, empty parking lots, or shuttered public schools help solve your community’s shortage of affordable housing or senior care facilities? Research suggests that it’s entirely possible. The U.S. government alone owns an estimated 45,000 underused or underutilized buildings, plus abundant surplus land. And, as a result of the current pandemic, organizations across the public and private sectors are now recognizing that many of us don’t really need to be in the office every day to get our work done. This underutilized space and property represents enormous untapped value which could be leveraged to finance investments in other areas.

Take the challenge of affordable housing. Today, nearly 40 million Americans cannot afford their current homes – spending as much as half of their incomes on housing. It’s estimated that as many as 7.2 million new affordable housing units are needed to meet demand. What if the public sector could leverage assets they already have to help bridge that gap?

In Canada, various governments have already done just that. By selling more than 240 surplus properties valued at some $120 million, the province of Ontario was able to save almost $10 million in annual operating costs. Some of those properties are now being repurposed for low-income and senior housing. Similarly, the city of Toronto launched an initiative to repurpose 18 city-owned properties into almost 13,000 affordable housing units.

What can we learn from these successes? There are several steps that policymakers and public sector officials — along with multidisciplinary teams of finance, human resources, technology, and corporate real estate stakeholders — should take in order to begin leveraging the untapped potential of unused buildings and property.

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How many people are actually fleeing to the suburbs permanently?

 

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You’ve seen the headlines: “Coronavirus Escape: To the Suburbs” in the New York Times, “Coronavirus: Americans flee cities for the suburbs” in USA Today, “Will the Coronavirus Make the Suburbs Popular Again?” in Architectural Digest.

The coronavirus pandemic’s stay-at-home orders have residents of dense urban areas like New York City pondering a permanent move to somewhere more spread-out for obvious reasons: more space, more land, lower prices.

Mulling the decision to leave New York has almost reached cliche status (there’s even a Leaving New York” essay genre, as the Times notes points out).

As more New Yorkers leave, it invites near-constant speculation about a “mass exodus” out of cities. But are the folks skipping town getting outsized attention? Are there really that many people moving away—for good?

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As eviction bans across the country start to lift, the US could face an eviction ‘apocalypse’

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Many Americans are now at risk of being evicted from their homes.

At least 44 million Americans have filed for unemployment in the past three months as the coronavirus pandemic devastated industries such as retail and hospitality.

Many who lost jobs were unable to pay their rent or utilities, prompting state and federal governments to issue a temporary ban on evictions.

But those bans are set to expire this summer, leaving many people at risk of losing their homes.

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4 pros predict the future of homes post-quarantine

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From how we’ll decorate to where we’ll shop.

 There is no crystal ball that will help us predict how surviving a pandemic will impact our lives a year or even six months from now. But one thing is certain—for the foreseeable future, we’re going to be spending time and living in our homes in a way that most of us never anticipated. That presents interesting challenges for the people who design, build, furnish, decorate, and help us buy and sell our houses. From bigger, ultra-functional kitchen pantries to FaceTime real-estate walk-throughs, some of our favorite experts weigh in on what comes next.

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Architects have designed a Martian city for the desert outside Dubai

 

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Martian city for the desert outside Dubai

 Dubai is a city where firefighters use jetpacks, archipelagos are built from scratch, and buildings climb into the clouds; a slick metropolis in the middle of a vast red desert. First-time visitors would be forgiven for thinking they had stumbled onto a film set for a sci-fi movie.

Now Dubai is set for what must be its most other-worldly architectural project yet.

In 2017, the United Arab Emirates announced its ambition to colonize Mars within the next 100 years. But architects are already imagining what a Martian city might look like — and planning to recreate it in the desert outside Dubai.

Mars Science City was originally earmarked to cover 176,000 square meters of desert — the size of more than 30 football fields — and cost approximately $135 million.

Intended as a space for Dubai’s Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) to develop the technology needed to colonize Mars, architects Bjarke Ingels Group were asked to design a prototype of a city suitable for sustaining life on Mars — and then adapt it for use in the Emirati desert.

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How working from home is changing the way we think about where we live

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Remote workers have a new found flexibility

Can you remember three months ago? In just 90 days, things have changed dramatically. Just 90 days. Yet, in that short amount of time, the way we think about where we live and how we live has completely changed.

In the latter part of those 90 days, I have heard from many people that the pandemic has forced their hand and has actually inspired investment in new technology or motivated a change in operations. These changes are adding up to huge impacts.

One of the big changes is the work-from-home policy. What started as a way to keep employees safe at home is now turning into the most popular work trend across the country, inspiring companies everywhere to step away from very large real estate construction projects and lease deals.

When office real estate is expensive and the country is facing an economic meltdown, and a work-from-home trend falls from the sky, it would be silly not to take it, right?

This Margins article reports that 40% of all venture capital funding in Silicon Valley actually goes to landlords instead of product development, and admits that even though it’s a big number, it is probably very conservative.

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This 3D printed house reduces carbon emissions and takes 48 hours to build!

The construction industry contributes to 39% of global carbon emissions while aviation contributes to only 2% which means we need to look for alternative building materials if we are to make a big impact on the climate crisis soon. We’ve seen buildings being made using mushrooms, bricks made from recycled plastic and sand waste, organic concrete, and now are seeing another innovative solution – a floating 3D printed house!

Prvok is the name of this project and it will be the first 3D printed house in the Czech Republic built by Michal Trpak, a sculptor, and Stavebni Sporitelna Ceske Sporitelny who is a notable member of the Erste building society. The house is designed to float and only takes 48 hours to build! Not only is that seven times faster than traditional houses, but it also reduces construction costs by 50%. No bricks, cement, and concrete (responsible for 8% of CO2 emissions alone!) are used which means it reduces carbon emissions by 20% – imagine how much CO2 could be reduced if this was used to build a colony. A robotic arm called Scoolpt designed by Jiri Vele, an architect and programmer, will be used in 3D printing and can print as fast as 15 cm per second.

 

The 43 square meter home will have all the essentials – a bedroom, living room, kitchen, and bathroom. It will be anchored on a pontoon and is designed in a way that owners can live in it all year round. Prvok is partially self-sufficient and is equipped with eco-technologies that enable it to recirculate shower water, use a green roof, and host reservoirs for utility, drinking, and sewage water. Each detail and element of the house has been thoughtfully added after making sure it can last for 100 years in any environment. Prvok is an example of what the future of hybrid houses that work for you and the environment could look like.

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Hadrian X brick-laying robot ups the ante to 200 blocks an hour

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The Hadrian robot was created by Australian firm Fastbrick Robotics (FBR) and is named after the UK’s Hadrian Wall

Back in 2015 we looked at an interesting approach to automated construction in the form of a brick-laying robot, capable of putting together full-sized homes in just two days. The engineers behind the Hadrian X have continued making software improvements and have now announced a new record brick-laying speed, which they say makes the robot commercially competitive with manual workers around much of the world.

The Hadrian X robot was created by Australian firm Fastbrick Robotics (FBR) and is named after the UK’s Hadrian Wall. It features a telescopic boom that mounts to an excavator or truck, which is fed a 3D CAD model of a house and goes about placing bricks along with mortar and adhesive to build out the structure.

While the team has concept demonstrator robots designed to one day achieve laying rates of more than 1,000 bricks an hour, on the practical side things have been a little more slow-going. Software upgrades to the Hadrian X have seen it go from laying around 85 blocks an hour before the COVID-19 pandemic, to around 150 blocks an hour, and then onward to up over 200 blocks an hour.

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There is a housing market crisis brewing – And here’s where it will strike first

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A potential housing crisis is brewing in some dense, overpriced housing markets as new work trends come into play.

Recent data on housing shows that sales remain strong, with only a small drop in prices.

However, longer-term trends are likely to lead to significant drops in today’s high-priced markets.

The shift towards a remote workforce will correct housing imbalances in markets that otherwise may have gone unsolved.

Many have feared a repeat of the 2008 housing crisis this year as the economy shut down. So far, however, signs indicate that the overall market is holding up well.

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Mortgage refinancings set to surge to a 17-year high

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Lenders probably will originate $1.5 trillion in refis, a 51% jump from 2019, Fannie Mae says

If you’re in the mortgage business, fasten your seatbelts. Refinance volume is set to spike to a 17-year high this year as mortgage rates fall to the lowest levels ever recorded, Fannie Mae said.

Even as other parts of the economy tank, lenders will originate $1.5 trillion in refis in 2020, a 51% jump from 2019, according to the forecast. That would be the highest level since 2003 when $2.5 trillion of mortgages were refinanced, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The lowest interest rates on record will bolster refis after the Federal Reserve began buying mortgage-backed securities to stimulate bond demand and grease the wheels of the credit markets. The average U.S. rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage fell to an all-time low of 3.23% at the end of April, according to Freddie Mac.

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Retirement villages have had their day: Baby boomers are rethinking retirement

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By 2030 all baby boomers will have turned 65 and Generation X will start their contribution to the expanding older cohort.

 Retirement villages — walled, gated and separate seniors’ enclaves — have had their day.

The word “retirement” is redundant and engagement between people of all ages is high. That’s how participants in the Longevity By Design Challenge envisage life in Australia in 2050.

Their challenge was to identify ways to prepare and adapt Australian cities to capitalise on older Australians living longer, healthier and more productive lives. Their vision, outlined in this article, offers a positive contrast to much of the commentary on “ageing Australia”.

We have been repeatedly warned about a looming “crisis” when by 2050 one in four Australians will be 65 or older. They have been portrayed as dependent non-contributors, unable to take care of themselves.

This scenario of doom is based on underlying assumptions that everyone over 65 wants to, can or should stop any kind of productive contribution to Australia.

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