Czech Republic builds its first 3D-printed floating house in 32 hours

Prvok, the 3D printed house designed by Michal Trpák, Jiří Vele, Kateřina Nováková, and building society Buřinka, is seven times faster and half the cost of brick construction.

by Meghna Mehta Published on : Jul 06, 2020

The first Czech 3D-printed floating house Prvok od Buřinky (Protozoon by Buřinka) has been ‘built’ or rather ‘printed’ using concrete in České Budějovice in Czech Republic. Designed by artist Michal Trpák, and architects Jiří Vele and Kateřina Nováková in collaboration with various other consultants and collaborators, the house draws inspiration from the shape of microscopic animals called protozoa. The entire house, including the internal partitions, was 3D printed and built using 17 tons of concrete mixture in only 32 hours, and completed on June 29, 2020. The house has been built in České Budějovice, and as the concrete hardens in a span of 28 days, it will soon be transported to Prague. Upon completion, the house will be open to the public at Střelecký Island, on the Vltava river.

The house ‘printed’ using concrete and a robot | 3D printed floating house Protozoon by Burinka | STIRworld
The house ‘printed’ using concrete and a robot Image Credit: Courtesy of David Veis

“About three years ago, when I designed a dental lab, which was an organic form, I started thinking about using the idea of 3D printing. Though it did not happen at the time, the idea of creating a 3D printed house stayed in my mind which I started to develop last year as a part of the art exhibition Art in the city in Ceske Budejovice in Czech Republic. After this 3D printing symposium, I started developing the idea with two other architects to create the 3D printed house Prvok (Protozoa),” informs Trpák.

The bathroom at Prvok | 3D printed floating house Protozoon by Burinka | STIRworld
The bathroom at Prvok Image Credit: Courtesy of Buřinka

The initial design approach was to create an organic shape, inspired by protozoa, with sculptural façade, curved lines and windows. The house was always conceptualised as a holiday home for countryside by the water. However, the façade and its relief structure changed and evolved over time. Progressively, the company that initiated the Prvok (Protozoon) has been undergoing important tests, such as the static pressure test, which concluded that the internal load-bearing wall can withstand 50-ton load, much more than any avalanche can throw at it. These mechanical and sustainable resistance tests were done in collaboration with the Experimental centre of the Faculty of Civil Engineering at the Czech Technical University in Prague to showcase the future of 3D printing in Czech Republic and the world.

Kitchen at Prvok | 3D printed floating house Protozoon by Burinka | STIRworld
Kitchen at Prvok Image Credit: Courtesy of Buřinka

“The most significant features of this 3D printed house are organic shapes in not only its walls but also windows, with no inner doors and three different spaces - bedroom, bathroom and living room. The house can be dismantled into these three spaces for transport and to assemble it on site. This creates an ease in processes as we are building this house in an old factory hall,” adds Trpák.

The 3D printing in process for Prvok house that went on for 32 days | 3D printed floating house Protozoon by Burinka | STIRworld
The 3D printing in process for Prvok house that went on for 32 days Image Credit: Courtesy of Kateřina Nováková

In the beginning of June, the building society Stavební spořitelna Česká spořitelna (Buřinka) conducted a survey that showed that the 3D-printing technology is being well received by the public. “More than a half of our clients can imagine living in a 3D-printed house, whether it is round or angular. Only one quarter of them do not see 3D-printing as a direction the Czech construction industry might take,” explains Libor Vošický, chairman of the Board of Directors of Stavební spořitelna.

  • The 3D printed house Prvok as visualised in Prague on Vltava river | 3D printed floating house Protozoon by Burinka | STIRworld
    The 3D printed house Prvok as visualised in Prague on Vltava river Image Credit: Courtesy of Buřinka
  • The 3D printing house Prvok in process at the factory in Ceske Budejovice in Czech Republic | Burinka| STIRworld
    The 3D printing house Prvok in process at the factory in Ceske Budejovice in Czech Republic Image Credit: Courtesy of Buřinka

The collaborators, artists, and architects involved believe this project will act as a game-changer in the 3D printing industry, and will help burst myths and make it a common practice. To make it a success, the industry needs cooperation from academics, further development of mixture composition, extended use of the robots for other construction purposes and the introduction of 3D printing to the common and professional public.

04 mins watch The team behind Prvok explains the concept and process of the 3D printed house | Burinka| STIRworld
The team behind Prvok explains the concept and process of the 3D printed house Video Credit: Courtesy of Buřinka

“In order for the 3D-printing technology to become part of the construction industry, we need to introduce it to researchers as well as architects, builders, government and other authorities. New study fields must be created,” says Jiří Vele, the architect participating in development of the control program for the 3D-printing robot at the Czech Technical University in Prague.  

The team that put together the first 3D printed house in Czech Republic | Burinka| STIRworld
The team that put together the first 3D printed house in Czech Republic Image Credit: Courtesy of David Veis

From August 18, 2020, the house will be placed on Střelecký Island and made open to the public.

Project Details

Name: Prvok /Protozoa 
Location: Build in Ceske Budejovice, to be displayed on Vltava river in Prague 
Time taken from conception to construction: Initiated in September 2019, expected completion - August 2020 
Time taken for construction: Printing time - 32 hours, entire construction – approx. two months 
Design firm: Scoolpt 
Design team: Michal Trpák (artist), Jiří Vele (Architect) and Kateřina Nováková (architect) 
Design collaborators: ČVUT university Prague - faculty of construction and architecture 
Brand collaborators: Master Builders, PCI, Buřinka -Stavební spořitelny, ABB, M-Tec, Groehe, Oresi, Beko, Brokis

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About Author

Meghna Mehta

Meghna Mehta

An architect by education and a journalist by passion, Mehta pursued a crossroad between her two interests. Having completed an M.Arch from CEPT University in Ahmedabad, she has worked in the field of architectural journalism for over 5 years. Besides content generation for STIR, she continues to teach in architectural schools in Mumbai.

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