We are always on the look out, both in the building world and society in general, for ways to make things easier, cheaper, more efficient, more green. Often this desire manifests itself in new methods of technology, new inventions that can at first seem quite abstract and unusual, inventions that whilst good in principle, are unlikely to make a significant impact on our daily lives. Saying this though, in such instances we are often mistaken. One only has to look at recent changes in the self-build sector to realise how quickly certain technologies can move from the marginal to the mainstream; solar pv, self-cleaning windows, instant boiling water, all things that I wouldn’t argue are going to revolutionise our lives, but are inventions that are now common enough to not be thought of as unusual yet were, until quite recently, exactly that.
Sometimes however something comes along that would change things so dramatically that we find it hard to believe it will ever take hold. Something that is not an addition to a pre-existing sytem, not an add-on, but a new way of doing things that would change the role of everyone associated with it. The idea of printing your own home is, in my opinion, one of these things.
I was recently shown a concept video of a printed home that not only blew me away due to the fact that it was a printed home, which is indeed crazy enough, but for the fact that it completely changed the idea of what a home should be, what it should look like. The video (below) highlights that with such a game-changing technology comes unlimited possibilities, buildings that previously were unbuildable could be built, materials that made no sense to use could act as the main building blocks – not that we would need building blocks at all!
It is often too easy to accept that we can use new technology to simply be faster, greener, more efficient – change how things are produced but not what is produced. For many the idea of printing your own home would conjure up images such as the one below, and in all likelihood that is the path 3D printing will take when it comes to homes, an extension of SIPs, the ultimate package home – it won’t be constructed off site then assemebled, it will be printed on site and that will be it. But I’d just like us all to think that maybe the way we see homes will change, in the same way that we as people, and the technology we build to help us, has changed. The standard definition of a house, a home, can transform until their is no standard definition, no three bedrooms and two bathrooms, no storeys, no walls, just places for us to live that make sense for each individual. We can all print anything we want, the possibilities are endless.