World's first freeform 3-D printed house enters test phase

6 February 2018
  • WATG
  • WATG
  • WATG


United States

WATG Urban announce development underway on award-winning design

In 2016, the WATG Urban design team were awarded first prize in The Freeform Home Design Challenge, a competition commissioned by Branch Technology for the world’s first freeform 3D printed house. The winning entry, called Curve Appeal, was inspired by the Case Study House programme developed between 1945-1966, which resulted in concepts for 36 highly-experimental prototypes re-inventing the modern home with open-plan spaces and minimalist materials. WATG took these ideas one stage further, incorporating new complex forms made feasible by the 3d printing process.

The development phase is now underway, with WATG’s Chicago office and Branch Technology enlisting various companies to further enhance the project's innovative nature. The team are exploring the structure’s load bearing capabilities with the help of Thornton Tomasetti, whose tests have found that a three-foot long beam weighing only five pounds could carry a load of approximately 3,600 pounds. The next stage will test the maximum load bearing qualities of each individual printed element of the structure.
Alongside United States Gypsum, the team are researching a variety of material components for fire protection and structural reinforcement, while Interface, a mechanical, electrical and plumbing design firm, are developing a system with the aim of making the house net zero-energy.

As well as the technological considerations, the house must suit its woodland environment, steps away from the Tennessee River. To this end, WATG is producing detailed drawings and collaborating with the City of Chattanooga, working towards breaking ground later this year.

Lucy Nordberg
TenderStream Research Specialist & Editor
This competition was first published by TenderStream on 27/01/2016. See the original brief here
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