Print your own skyscraper anyone?


Could “Contour Crafting” enable us to effectively print our own mega-structures and dwellings of the future? Creative agency Wordsearch, the global specialist in architectural and real estate marketing, explores the new phenomenon in construction and discovers the “WikiHouse” which has emerged during this week’s London Design Festival.

3D printing has been around for many years but the technology is now evolving really fast.  With new applications being added all the time, we hear of it being used for anything from creating previously impossible designs for the fashion industry to prosthetics and even vital human organs made from our own stem cells for the medical industry.  It is quite staggering how the technology is evolving and the pace of advancements.

Whilst the experts believe that consumer adoption of 3D printing in and around the home is still 5-10 years away, largely due to cost, London sees this week the emergence of the WikiHouse, a two-storey dwelling created using “Contour Crafting”, 3D printing technology on a grand scale.

Designed by Dr Behrokh Khoshnevis, the giant robotic printer that is the “Contour Crafter”, allows operatives to effectively 3D print concrete buildings, layer by layer, in as little as 24 hours.

The creation of the WikiHouse demonstrates that the suggestion of designing and printing one’s own house is not as pie in the sky as we may think.  Indeed it brings a whole new dimension to DIY as we know it.  And the application is not limited to planet earth, as scientists at the University of Southern California investigate the application of the technology in building structures and dwellings on the surface of the Moon and on Mars.

Aside from the obvious speed of building presented by Contour Crafting technology, rather surprisingly, buildings “printed” in this way are three times stronger than ordinary walled structures.  And because they require less time and skill to fabricate and build, costs are significantly reduced.

Whilst the technology can’t currently replace steel, glass or wood, Dr Khoshnevis comments “[But if] you can build cheaper, faster, and better with the cementitious material approach, there will be less demand for wood.  So it is not going to make everything in construction obsolete, but certain kinds of buildings will be definitely built this way and not with the old method.”

The future will allow us to literally choose or design our dream home, download the CAD (computer assisted design) file and then build it using the Contour Crafter robotic printer.

Get along to London’s WikiHouse, open to the public this week during London Design Festival.  You can find it outside New London Architecture offices at The Building Centre, 26 Store Street, London, WC1E 7BT.

More information is available at

Wordsearch is the world’s leading creative agency for architectural and real estate marketing.

Image courtesy of London Design Festival 2014, 13-21 September,

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