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  • Suzie Lemos

Layer by Layer: The future of 3D Printed Sustainable Projects

State-of-the-art technology set to change global struggles by lending a laser, or two, to the world’s most vulnerable citizens, as well as shifting traditions in construction through cement reduction.

Advantages of Sustainability in 3D Printing

With regular updates on minimal material wastage, production costs set to fall and diminished environmental damage through cement reduction, “A House For Everyone” is the core message behind sustainable projects, specifically in 3D printing.

Helping pave a more sustainable model of consumerism within real estate, this year, the UK-based research institute, the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) became the first non-US partner to join the global standards organisation of manufacturing, ASTM International, USA.  By aligning and merging global standards, innovations and developments in additive manufacturing can become efficient, consistent and reliable.

Sustainability within 3D printing has the potential and tools to revolutionise and enhance the property and construction industry, as well as everyday life. Low-resource countries and communities have the opportunity to 3D print parts/objects they were once not able to due to costs.

The world’s first Drone 3D Printer by Dr. Mirko Kovac, can 3D print material onto waste and make it transportable. The innovation has received £ 3.5 million with the intent of being used in disaster relief situations, especially hard-to-reach locations. Scout, return, 3D print and transfer; the drone’s four commandment

Below are a few examples of profiles on Built-ID that have worked on 3D-printed sustainable projects.

R H Partnership

In 2015, R H Partnership won England’s most sustainable building award. Using 3D printing, the firm created the structural panels off-site, enabling precision in the process.

Winners of BREEAM’s outstanding sustainable design replaced cement and recycled aggregates in the foundations and external works as low-carbon strategies. As for generating power, photovoltaic panels with heating from a biomass boiler are used.

Sophi Taylor Visitor Centre

Sophi Taylor Visitor Centre – R H Partnership (Click image to view more)

DUS Architects

DUS Architects experimented with the unthinkable, potato starch. Having partnered up with several innovators, they 3D printed a “porcelain” tableware set with every item being slightly different from the next.

The shape of the potato is what inspired the design, with the intent each shape would reference each other as a set, but individually too.

Potato Tableware

Potato Tableware – DUS Architects (Click image to view more)

Something & Son

Exploring new technologies is what Something & Son like to do best. Future Baroque is a style Something & Son have explored, investigated into and produced and outcome on. A combination of milled baroque and 3D printing, their experiment comes from new tastes emerging in the industry and affecting the modernism movement, specifically within design and architecture.

Looking into how cities can become more sustainable, Something & Son want old buildings to fall within the EU standards for insulation. Their response to the current inadequate living standards and the current trend of knocking buildings down is seen above, where the firm moulded both styles in the hope it would reintroduce the buildings to the industry.

Future Baroque – Something & Son (Click image to view more)

Carl Turner Architects

One of the main reasons sustainable projects have become an investment and a priority within the property is due to flooding. Continuing to be a major global problem due to the ongoing effects of climate change, Carl Turner Architects decided to act and design an alternative built solution; A self-sufficient and carbon neutral blueprint for housing.

3D printed, the lightweight design is provided with support through various structures such as a floating pontoon or the base within floodplain to name a few. The additive manufacturing technique proves to be cost and time effective, successful and extremely easy to use.

Hopefully, we will begin to witness the architecture industry provide the public with open-source architecture blueprints like these.

Floating House- Carl Turner Architects

Floating House- Carl Turner Architects (Click image to view more)

Have you recently collaborated or been involved in a 3D printing project? We would be delighted to feature your work. You can email us on


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