- Chinese company WinSun met with Saudi Arabia officials to discuss the possibility of using its 3-D printing technology to help the country reach its goal of constructing 1.5 million homes over the next five years, according to 3Dprint.com.
- Saudi Arabia is dealing with a major shortage of homes — which will have the greatest impact on its middle-class residents. As the government searches for remedies for the housing crisis, officials have turned to 3-D printing as a possible solution.
- Officials have not yet revealed details of the plan or whether an agreement will be reached, but, if implemented, the project would be the largest 3-D printing effort in history, according to 3Dprint.com.
WinSun is one of the world's most high-profile 3-D printing companies, as it was involved with constructing the first fully operational 3-D-printed office building in the world. Dubai unveiled that 2,000-square-foot building, which took only 17 days to complete, in May.
Earlier this year, Dubai announced its 3-D-printing initiative that aims to result in 25% of all the city's buildings being 3-D-printed by 2030. On a smaller scale, WASP — the developer of the tower 3-D printer known as Big Delta — announced plans in March to 3-D print an entire Italian village, including the town's buildings and furnishings.
3-D printing has emerged as a rapidly evolving technology with far-reaching implications for construction, as it can reportedly reduce production time by 50%-70%, labor cost by 50%-80% and construction waste by 30%-60%. Researchers are finding ways to utilize the technology, such as creating substitutes for concrete, producing emergency housing in disaster or poverty-stricken areas, and even building hotel suites.
The technology is also making waves in the U.S., as Tennessee-based 3-D printing startup Branch Technology announced in June that it will start construction in 2017 on the "undulating" and "futuristic" winning design — WATG Chicago's Curve Appeal — of its 3-D-printable, single-family home design competition.