The Swiss Higher Technical School of Zurich (ETH Zurich) plans to put its digital building technology to the test with the construction of the three-story DFAB HOUSE.
The house is planned to be built on the territory of the NEST research center, a joint project of the Institute of Materials Science and Technology (EMPA) and the Federal Institute of Water Sciences and Technology (EAWAG). The construction will be carried out by a team of eight ETH Zurich professors led by Matthias Köhler.
“Unlike other groundbreaking projects that rely on only one innovative technique, such as 3D construction for construction, DFAB House will integrate a range of new digital technologies. This will allow us to make the most of the advantages of each method individually and collectively, as well as to reflect new possibilities in the architectural composition itself, ”says Professor Köhler.
The walls of the building will be constructed using the Mesh Mold robot welder. This extraordinary two-meter-high machine mounted on a tracked chassis places and welds rebar to prepare the foundation for solid concrete walls. The main advantage of the system is the ability to create arbitrary shapes.
Overlapping and decorative elements are planned to be created using Smart Slab and Smart Dynamic Casting technologies. Smart Slab involves the production of optimized concrete slabs using 3D-printed sand molds, while Smart Dynamic Casting refers to a technology that closely resembles conventional construction 3D printers. Here, too, a robotic arm is used to build cement or concrete structures. The difference is that the robot actually extrudes the finished structures using various forming nozzles and using rotational and translational movements to obtain complex shapes. You can see how this is done in the video at the end of the article. The technology is intended not so much for the manufacture of load-bearing structures as for various decorative elements.
The three-story building with an area of two hundred square meters will consist of both residential premises and laboratory.