It’s a mark of modernity that probably shouldn’t surprise anyone, but technology is moving forward at an astounding rate. Just a few years ago, 3D printers were strange, new inventions that could only construct small, delicate resin objects. Now, even just in the last six months, we’ve seen 3D printing dominate construction news. From backyard castles to tiny homes, the industry is changing, going digital.
Take the DFAB House, a project coming out of Zurich, Switzerland. Eight scientists from the ETH Zurich University have created a system that claims to go digital on all steps of construction—design, planning, and building.
“Unlike construction projects that use only a single digital building technology, such as 3D printed houses, the DFAB House brings a range of new digital building technologies together. This allows us to use the advantages of each individual method as well as their synergies, and express them architecturally,” said professor Matthias Kohler.
The project uses a robot, essentially a giant arm on caterpillar treads, to build a steel mesh frame for another 3D printing robot to cover with concrete. Once the concrete hardens, a 3D-printed roof is mounted on top—and then it moves to the second and third stories.
Here at hh2 we are taking the ball in this digital revolution and running with it, with tools that move paper-heavy tasks, like approving invoices or recording employee work time, onto mobile devices.
The DFAB House, and others like it (MIT has a 3D printer that can build a house in 14 hours!), show the rapid rate of technological progress in the construction industry—an industry that once seemed like the last place that could go digital. It will be exciting to see where we go next.