HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Houston is at the forefront of a new architectural era that some say will make your next home stronger, faster to build, and less expensive.
A team of Cornell University professors came to Houston to build a two-story house using a printing machine that features big funnels that squeeze out cement the way you'd squeeze frosting on a cake.
"This is the largest in the world, and the first two-story home in the United States," Dr. Hikmat Zerbe, the head of structural engineering for CIVE, a partner in the project, said.
When it's done, the 4,000-square-foot home will represent the next generation in 3D-printing technology.
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Three-dimensional printing is being used worldwide, including on a home in Austin that ABC13 showed you in November 2021. The designs are drafted with a computer program that tells the printing machine what to do, which means few workers are needed on site.
"All throughout this house, we have all sorts of geometry changes, interesting architectural details where we're really pushing the limits of what we can get away with, with this technology," Samuel Hager with PERI 3D Construction, the company behind the building, said.
There are cool features like the 3D-printed kitchen island and fireplace, and the 40-foot-tall chimney. But, there are also practical ones, like the double exterior walls with insulation sandwiched in between to reduce electric bills and make the house more fire, flood, and wind resistant.
The project is a collaboration of three companies.
HANNAH is the New York-based architectural and design firm that drafted the other two companies into the partnership. HANNAH's Cornell University-based architects wanted to push the limits of 3D printing by designing a home with intricate designs, using the cement in extreme temperatures, and creating a large-scale home. They've been at this for more than two years.
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Another interest is gaining insight into developing affordable housing communities, which would be especially helpful in rural areas where there are worker shortages.
"We want to do something very ambitious right off the bat but use all that learning to where we can scale up to an affordable multi-family-type solution," Hager said.
They expect it will take about 220 hours to complete this home, which they call a laboratory. It's a hybrid construction that, along with cement, will have glass, wood, and metal features.
Their hope is the Spring Branch home will help cement the future of this technology in meeting the next generation's desires for a home that is eco-friendly, sturdy, and practical.
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