Can you program a 3-D printer to build an entire building? Architect Janjaap Ruijssenaars wants to try.
The Dutch architect has laid out plans for Landscape House -- a structure that looks like a Mobius strip or "one surface folded over into an endless band," as he describes it.
To build it, he plans to use a 3-D printer called D-Shape that will lay down thin layers of sand that combine with a bonding agent to create a material that is reportedly akin to marble.
Ruijssenaars has a few partners joining him on this strange house printing journey. To design the home he worked with Rinus Roelofs, a sculptor and mathematician. To build it, he will work with Enrico Dini, the large scale 3-D printing expert who invented the D-Shape printer.
If you are imagining a giant house-sized printer slowly but surely building a house layer by layer, then you don't quite have it right.
The Landscape House will be printed in chunks 6 meters by 9 meters (about 20 feet by 30 feet). Each structure will be built from the bottom up, in a series of 5 mm layers of sand deposit. When the building is done, workers will brush away the loose sand to reveal the bonded sand structure underneath.
As 3-D printing is still a pretty new process, the structure will still have some concrete and fiberglass reinforcements.
The BBC reports that the cost of the building will be $5 million to $6 million, and Ruijssenaars is hoping to have it finished by the end of 2014.
To see the D-Shape in action and learn more about the inventor, check out the video below.