Concrete solution


Three-dimensional printing is a technology typically associated more with making bespoke dentures or tiny replacement parts for aircraft. However, in China buildings are now being 3D printed. The Chinese are not alone in doing this – experimental structures have also been printed in Denmark and Dubai – but this month a Chinese construction firm marked a first, according to A two-storey office building was printed on site, adjacent to an existing structure, in an attempt to show the process could be commercialised. The new concrete office structure in Guangdong’s Heyuan City was printed in less than 60 hours, with a printer made domestically by China Construction Machinery and which incorporated 13 patents. The chief engineer on the project said a conventional approach would have required 60 days, and also required double the labour and five times the outlay on construction materials. He estimated the 3D printer saved as much as 50% of costs versus standard techniques and said it was particularly useful for buildings that employed curved architectural designs.

Meanwhile design website Dezeen also reported that a 3D printer was also used to build the facade of a new fish and chip shop in Chengdu. The facade captures the look and feel of the original in the British city of York. The Sichuan outpost of Scotts is located in Swire’s popular Taikoo Li development in the city (see WiC465 for our first report on the Yorkshire chippy’s decision to open a China-based eatery).

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