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3D-printed farmhouse erected in rural Hebei

China Daily | Updated: 2021-11-25 08:41
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Tourists visit a 3D-printed farmhouse in Zhangjiakou, Hebei province, last month. [Photo by Chen Xiaodong/for China Daily]

SHIJIAZHUANG-A three-bedroom 3D-printed farmhouse has been built in a rural part of North China's Hebei province.

With vaulted ceilings and concrete outer walls decorated by weave patterns, Zhao Xiujuan's house in Wujiazhuang village, Zhangjiakou-the co-host city for the 2022 Winter Olympics-covers an area of 106 square meters.

When Xu Weiguo, a professor at Tsinghua University's School of Architecture, came up with the idea of building a 3D-printed farmhouse in Wujiazhuang, there was an outpouring of concern from villagers, who wondered whether it would be strong enough.

Shrugging off the skepticism of her fellow villagers, Zhao asked Xu and his team to rebuild her old house using 3D printing technology.

At the construction site, robotic arms built up concrete materials layer by layer to form the foundation and walls. After the roof was printed separately, it was put on the walls by a crane.

The construction of the house was completed in two weeks.

"There were only two people on each device," one villager said. "They pressed the button, then a house was built. It's amazing."

China's 3D printing market has been growing rapidly in recent years, and the technology has been widely used in aerospace, construction, automobile, shipping and other fields.

"This technology can save manpower and construction costs, while increasing efficiency and quality," Xu said, adding that it can keep the design and construction of traditional houses while creating beautiful irregular curved surfaces.

Before the 3D-printed farmhouse took shape, Xu and his team applied 3D printing technology to build other structures at home and abroad, including a 26.3-meter-long pedestrian bridge in Shanghai.

China has made continuous efforts in technological innovation to transform and upgrade the traditional construction sector.

In July last year, a guideline released by 13 central government departments called for efforts to integrate intelligent construction technologies into the whole industrial chain, and set short- and long-term targets for the industry's high-quality development.

"At present, there are still a large number of houses and infrastructure to be built in China," Xu said. "Intelligent technologies can solve the labor shortage problem faced by the construction industry, liberating workers from their heavy labor."


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