Images via SOM

Architect 3D prints high-tech house for off grid living

27 January 2016 | By Joe Quirke 2 Comments

American architect Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) has unveiled a 3D-printed house that allows inhabitants to live anywhere that can be reached with a four-wheel drive.

The Additive Manufacturing Integrated Energy (AMIE) demonstration project is a “research and design” collaboration between SOM and the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The project hopes to demonstrate how a secluded green future may be possible in a “rapidly urbanizing world”.

The structure makes use of wireless energy technology and is made of high performance materials to achieve independence from the power grid even at times of peak demand.

The C-shaped shell is 38ft long, 13ft high, 12ft wide, and is based next to a companion 4 x 4 vehicle.

SOM hope that the project can show how similar developments can lead to zero-waste construction, reduced material consumption and the recycling and reprinting of buildings for new forms and uses.

Flexible photovoltaic panels are integrated into the roof. They work with a natural gas-powered generator located in the vehicle to supply energy for lighting and the central micro-kitchen.

In addition to supplementing the vehicular energy source, the panels also charge the enclosure’s battery when the fixtures are not in use.

Full-scale load testing has been undertaken to confirm the performance of the structure.

The development of printed houses has been a fruitful area of research and design in the past few years.

For example, scientists from the University of Nantes have created a 3D printer that can produce an emergency shelter in less than half an hour.

Meanwhile, an Italian company has created a 12m-high 3D printer that can produce a shelter using natural materials such as dirt or clay.

Images via SOM