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3D-Printed Houses: New Trend or Lasting Solution?

Habitat for Humanity sponsored a virtual panel discussion on 3D-printed homes, moderated by Shelterforce's editor in chief, Miriam Axel-Lute.

The house was built on a large corner lot in South Richmond so that the 3D printer had enough room to operate. Photo courtesy of the Virginia Center for Housing Research

This article is part of the Under the Lens series

Building Differently

Experiments to lower construction costs, from utilizing shipping containers to 3D printing, have been happening for years. But have we found anything that will help us build affordable housing at scale, and for less? And if not, what will it take to get us there?

The challenge of a global housing shortage is being met by new approaches to materials, efficiency, and supply lines. One new technology that’s making a splash in the construction sector, in development, and among the public is the rise of 3D-printed houses.

Shelterforce wrote about 3D printing in Building Differently, last fall’s installment of our Under the Lens feature. The series also reported on innovations like robotics, new uses for shipping containers, and other experiments in lowering construction costs.

On March 10, Habitat for Humanity sponsored a virtual panel discussion on 3D-printed homes, moderated by Shelterforce’s editor in chief, Miriam Axel-Lute.

The panelists include Ryan Colkur, vice president for innovation at International Code Council; Janet V. Green, CEO of Habitat for Humanity Peninsula and Greater Williamsburg; and Adithya Jain, co-founder of Tvasta Manufacturing Solutions.

After her opening remarks, Axel-Lute introduces a video-within-the-video that shows the construction of the first 3D-printed house in the United States.

This panel was the first in a series on innovations in housing, part of Habitat for Humanity’s ongoing +You series. Experts will gather periodically to examine alternative construction materials, sustainable solutions, and other new approaches around the world and in differently resourced settings.

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