3D Housing 05 - 3D-printed house

Since 2015, HeidelbergCement’s subsidiary Italcementi has been developing a high-techconcrete specially formulated for different types of 3D printing technologies. The results are encouraging: the material can be mixed, pumped and extruded through a nozzle of any shape at the head of different 3D printer types. The product sets quickly and permits the laying of successive concrete layers during the printing process.

Research at the i.lab in Bergamo focused on both the performance of various concrete formulations and the printing process itself, using the extrusion technology.

A project team comprising 15 specialists, such as engineers, materials chemists, architects and technicians, have worked more than 15,000 hours since the beginning of the project. A network of external partners and universities, including the Harvard Graduate School of Design in the USA, the University of Naples Federico II and the University of Florence in Italy, are also involved in the project.

The first opportunity for real application experience was offered by the 3D HOUSING 05 project at the Milan Design Week 2018 in Italy this past April. Italcementi, in collaboration with architect Massimiliano Locatelli, a partner at CLS Architetti, as well as Arup Group and CyBe Construction, presented the prototype of a 100 square meter house (3.20 meters high), which was 3D printed on site by a portable robot.

For this occasion, HeidelbergCement’s Global Product Innovation department, in close cooperation with CyBe, optimised the concrete formulation according to the requirements of the 3D printer chosen for the project to guarantee that each printed concrete layer would set quickly. The house is made up of 35 modules, each of which was printed in 60-90 minutes. It took only 48 hours to print the entire house.

This rapid production process enables many possible future market applications, such as:

  • Social housing (housing for 1.2 billion people in the world lacking suitable shelter);
  • Temporary shelter in case of emergencies, also in seismic areas;
  • Customised designs to meet customers’ different interests and creative goals.

3D printing offers infinite possibilities in the field of architecture. The key challenges are:

  • Sustainability: a sustainable alternative to the traditional construction process, reducing material waste and allowing the use of recycled concrete. Components of 3D-printed buildings can be reused in the future, in line with the principles of the circular economy.
  • Flexibility: greater flexibility in the shape of buildings, allowing the creation of more complex structures, such as double curved walls, at lower cost. In addition, the on-site construction process has few limitations regarding site location.
  • Affordability: 3D printing is less expensive than traditional construction due to the more efficient use of materials and a more structured and faster building process.
  • Accuracy: 3D printing offers a direct transfer of information from the 3D design model to construction operations. It therefore drastically reduces building inconsistencies and potential mistakes.
  • Rapidity: it increases efficiency during the building process.

Connect to the recorded webcam session, showing the work in progress.

Project Data

  • Massimiliano Locatelli


  • Rapid hardening concrete


  • 2018



3D Housing 05 - 3D-printed house Piazza Beccaria
20100 Milano (Italy)

3D Housing 05, Italy.

3D Housing 05, Italy.

3D Housing 05, Italy.

3D printer, Italy.

3D Housing 05, Italy.