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  • Updated: June 25, 2021

World's First-Ever 3D-Printed Building Unveiled In Malawi

World's First-Ever 3D-Printed Building Unveiled In Malawi

Photo Credit:Technext)

14Trees, Holcim Group and CDC Group have revealed the first-ever 3D printed school building in the world in Malawi. The wall of the 3D-printed building of the school in the Salima district was completed in 18 hours relatively faster than it takes to build a regular school building using the traditional methodologies.

14Trees, an innovative green building solution provider with the goal of developing sustainable buildings and eliminating harmful impacts of construction on climate conditions. Holcim, a French-Swiss multinational construction company and the CDC Group, UK’s development finance institution wholly owned by the government, demonstrated how other cheap and fast methods could be used to build social infrastructure in Africa.

French-Swiss multinational construction company, Holcim said students have started learning in the new building since June 21, compared to several days it takes when using conventional building materials to build schools.

This demonstrates how the method could be used as a cheap and fast way to build social infrastructure in Africa.

According to data from UNICEF, Malawi has an estimated shortage of 36,000 classrooms while 14Trees says the classrooms can all be built in 10 years if 3D printing is employed. The Holcim Group estimates that it would take about 70 years to construct them all if regular construction methods are used.

The total number of schools in the Yambe zone in addition to the world’s first 3D-printed school building brings the total number to 13, according to Juliana Kuphanga Chikandila, Primary Education Advisor in Malawi.

The technology makes it possible for the rapid construction of schools, a solution that the African country presently needs. Chikandila explained that the zone needed 4 more primary schools to serve its populace. As a district, Salima needs about 50 more schools.

Since the school was needed in another village, it was moved from its place of printing to the village of Kalonga in the Yambe zone of Salima District.

Region Head of Europe, Middle East, and Africa at Holcim Group, Miljan Gutovic said that the group looks forward to developing more of such buildings and scaling up the technology to solve infrastructure needs.

“I am very proud of how our colleagues at 14Trees have deployed cutting-edge 3D printing technology to solve such an essential infrastructure need. Now that we’ve proven the concept in Malawi, we look forward to scaling up this technology across the broader region, with projects already in the pipeline in Kenya and Zimbabwe.”

Starting with the communities that are most in need, the green building venture is working with non-governmental organizations to print more schools so that the shortage will reduce. The printing process was carried out using proprietary LafargeHolcim ink. This reduced the environmental footprint by more than 50% compared to traditional building methods.

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Lawrence Agbo
Lawrence Agbo

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