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3-D Printed Canal House in Amsterdam

An in-progress 3-D printed house could impact the future of urban housing.
"Why a canal house? It's not only the ornament and facade; it's especially its program. It was always a place for trade, living, working, storage, and being open to the world," says Hans Vermeulen, DUS Architects co-founder. "We think 3-D printing can be the technique to provide good housing to billions of people on this planet." Photo courtesy DUS Architects.

The ability to adapt to urban growth is becoming a necessary factor among housing projects, with half of the world's population now living in a city—an all-time high that is trending upwards. Amsterdam-based DUS Architects is exploring technological processes that would allow for faster, more affordable housing solution to accompany the trend and even usher in a new wave of architecture: 3-D-printed, multi-story buildings.

DUS, in collaboration with Ultimaker, has developed a large 3-D printer called the KamerMaker, which translates to "Room Maker," and lives up to its name. The two by three-and-a-half meter, movable printer is capable of producing large, solidified forms out of a bioplastic hotmelt mix composed of 75% plant oil that can then be pieced together into one larger, multi-story form. 

The first room, currently a three meter-high, 180-kilogram sample, is on track to be completed this summer. The entire site is open to the public to view the progress and welcome ideas. Among the visitors: President Barack Obama, during his spring visit to Amsterdam. "What we want to achieve with this project is to take production out of the factory and into the city, and show people that they can be a part of the production again," says DUS Architects co-founder Hans Vermeulen. 

The canal house, a natural programmatic choice of variously functioned rooms aligned with the Amsterdam vernacular, will be under construction for the next three years as DUS methodically refines the building process.

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