A 3D printed house has just been inaugurated in Nantes

Science never stops! The University of Nantes wanted to prove it by setting up a pharaonic project: the real construction of a real 3D house. Impossible? No, it is real, and this realization is the first stone of a new era. How? Why? Why? For what purpose? Let’s take an interest today in the invaluable progress of a science and human teams proposing another aspect of construction and who achieve a world first with this 3D house out of the ordinary!

By Batîprint and the University of Nantes: 3D house, the project

By who?

The first 3D house built in Nantes is a social housing and its first tenants should invest the premises during the month of June 2018. Manufactured thanks to 3D technology, this 95m2 house was designed and developed thanks to a technology called Bâtiprint3D set up by teams from the University of Nantes (LS2N, GeM).


Simply (or not!) thanks to a robot and the superb prowess of today’s science and technology! It is a robot equipped with an arm nearly four meters long and guided by a laser, whose function is to deposit successive layers of materials while following a computer plan designed by its directors. However, concrete is not the main material and the construction process remains completely new. This realization allows France to take a step ahead of its compatriots Chinese, Russians or Americans where other projects of 3D constructions are currently in progress.

The secret? Expanding concrete foam

Two layers of foam foam were used to form a concrete layer. The foam allowing to obtain an insulation of the house without thermal bridges. The whole was covered with a classic coating.

Process : This white foam solidifies, forming a succession of white puddings rising each time the robot passes. Have you ever seen a 3D printer in action? Imagine it at human size and scale and the image will be the right one! This extraordinary robot, also developed at the University of Nantes by human teams, is mobile, and moves easily along the wall. After the concrete is poured between the two walls (by the same robot), the outer wall must be smoothed to apply the plaster.

The house is then equipped with various sensors (air, humidity, temperature…) to monitor the evolution of materials, thermal and acoustic performance.

This technique makes it easy to obtain curved shapes. The architect Charles Coiffier, who actively participated in the realization of the very first 3D house, did not deprive himself of this.

What are the advantages of a 3D printed house?

Thermal insulation: the strong point

It should be known that the curved forms of this house, easily allowed by this process out of 3D printing standards, greatly improve the thermal performances of the house. Indeed, on a traditional house, water often tends to accumulate in the corners of walls and thus hinder its circulation and evaporation. Here, the problem could not have been. Moreover, this house also meets the RT 2012 thermal regulation standards, and the insulation is 40% better.

Cost and speed

It is interesting to know that it took only three days and two operators/technicians to assemble the walls of this 3D house, against more than three weeks usually, in the case of social housing. However, over the total time of construction and construction of a single-family and traditional house for private individuals, the estimated time saving is still small. However, everything is new, and this “magic” robot has a future and time to surprise us again! In general, the cost is estimated to be 20% lower compared to any other style of construction. An undeniable advantage all the same!

A world first, an exceptional and innovative construction, the 3D house today lays the foundations for an innovative future in construction. It becomes the extension of human teams, and allows a broadening of skills in all areas. Today after this success, the Batiprint teams are implementing several other projects in the Nantes region, including a batch of ten pavilions which should see the light of day very soon!

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