3D Printing

Softkill's intricate 3D printed ProtoHouse is all about the plastic

Softkill's intricate 3D printe...
Softkill Design's ProtoHouse 1.0 (Image: Softkill Design)
Softkill Design's ProtoHouse 1.0 (Image: Softkill Design)
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Softkill Design's ProtoHouse 1.0 (Image: Softkill Design)
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Softkill Design's ProtoHouse 1.0 (Image: Softkill Design)
ProtoHouse 1.0 was made from 30 pieces that could be assembled into a single form without the use of adhesive (Image: Softkill Design)
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ProtoHouse 1.0 was made from 30 pieces that could be assembled into a single form without the use of adhesive (Image: Softkill Design)
Softkill prints with plastic rather than sand or concrete (Image: Softkill Design)
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Softkill prints with plastic rather than sand or concrete (Image: Softkill Design)
Softkill prints with plastic rather than sand or concrete (Image: Softkill Design)
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Softkill prints with plastic rather than sand or concrete (Image: Softkill Design)
Softkill prints with plastic rather than sand or concrete (Image: Softkill Design)
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Softkill prints with plastic rather than sand or concrete (Image: Softkill Design)
Computer model of ProtoHouse 1.0 (Image: Softkill Design)
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Computer model of ProtoHouse 1.0 (Image: Softkill Design)
The seemingly entwined fibers that make up ProtoHouse 1.0 are each just 0.7 mm (0.03 in.) thick (Image: Softkill Design)
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The seemingly entwined fibers that make up ProtoHouse 1.0 are each just 0.7 mm (0.03 in.) thick (Image: Softkill Design)
The seemingly entwined fibers that make up ProtoHouse 1.0 are each just 0.7 mm (0.03 in.) thick (Image: Softkill Design)
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The seemingly entwined fibers that make up ProtoHouse 1.0 are each just 0.7 mm (0.03 in.) thick (Image: Softkill Design)
Softkill's approach results in more organic forms (Image: Softkill Design)
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Softkill's approach results in more organic forms (Image: Softkill Design)
Softkill's approach results in more organic forms (Image: Softkill Design)
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Softkill's approach results in more organic forms (Image: Softkill Design)
Softkill intends to use plastic rather than sand or concrete (Image: Softkill Design)
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Softkill intends to use plastic rather than sand or concrete (Image: Softkill Design)
Softkill's approach results in more organic forms (Image: Softkill Design)
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Softkill's approach results in more organic forms (Image: Softkill Design)
Built in 2012, ProtoHouse 1.0 was a 1:33 scale model (Image: Softkill Design)
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Built in 2012, ProtoHouse 1.0 was a 1:33 scale model (Image: Softkill Design)
Built in 2012, ProtoHouse 1.0 was a 1:33 scale model (Image: Softkill Design)
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Built in 2012, ProtoHouse 1.0 was a 1:33 scale model (Image: Softkill Design)
ProtoHouse 1.0 was made from 30 pieces that could be assembled into a single form without the use of adhesive (Image: Softkill Design)
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ProtoHouse 1.0 was made from 30 pieces that could be assembled into a single form without the use of adhesive (Image: Softkill Design)
Softkill proposes printing all the fixtures and fittings from staircases to furniture as part of the structure(Image: Softkill Design)
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Softkill proposes printing all the fixtures and fittings from staircases to furniture as part of the structure(Image: Softkill Design)
View gallery - 16 images

London-based architecture team Softkill Design has entered the race to create the first 3D printed house. Unlike the first plans for 3D-printed houses that emerged at about this time last year, Softkill thinks that the future of 3D printed housing lies in prefabricated components rather than printing houses whole using vast uber-printers on site. By using plastics rather than sand or concrete, Softkill may just have hit upon a concept that actually feels... 3D printery.

To date, Softkill has printed one "ProtoHouse" prototype to demonstrate its concept. Built in 2012, ProtoHouse 1.0 was a 1:33 scale model which showed not only the imaginative, detailed forms that high-resolution 3D printing with plastics could offer, but also demonstrated how a full-sized version might work. ProtoHouse 1.0 was made from 30 pieces that could be assembled into a single form without the use of adhesive.

The seemingly entwined fibers that make up ProtoHouse 1.0 are each just 0.7 mm (0.03 in.) thick. The prototype is unlike others we've previously seen, which have tended either to resemble simple adobe shelters, or emulated contemporary forms.

The emerging conversation about 3D printed housing has seemingly, deliberately or otherwise, paid lip service to historic architectural methods and traditions, forms and materials. Softkill's ProtoHouse 1.0 looks like the dwelling you'd come up with if you swept all that aside, and focused on the 3D printer itself. It looks like what an orb-weaving spider might come up with if they started hanging out at the Bartlett School of Architecture (and, in a sense, orb spiders sort of are an autonomous 3D printer, even if they do tend to work in two dimensions).

Perhaps it's because Softkill seems to be thinking about the problem in a new way that, with ProtoHouse 1.0, it proposed printing all the fixtures and fittings from staircases to furniture as part of the structure.

For ProtoHouse 2.0, Softkill is upping the ante by developing a small 4 by 8 meter (13 by 26 foot) building comprised of "7 big chunks of laser-sintered plastic" which fit inside the bag of a Ford Transit. Putting them together will apparently take half a day, again requiring no adhesive or screws. Talking to Dezeen, Softkill's Gilles Retsin said they hoped to have printed and assembled ProtoHouse 2.0 in the UK's summertime.

Arguably Softkill's closest rival in developing the first 3D printed house is Universe Architecture, though Retsin pointed out to Dezeen that, strictly speaking, Universe's Möbius strip-like Endless House won't be wholly 3D printed, requiring the pouring of concrete on site.

We're excited to see what Softkill comes up with in the coming months.

Source: Softkill, via Dezeen

View gallery - 16 images
6 comments
Edwin Austin
Yipes, this looks like the nest from Aliens!
coastwalker
It isn't often that you see truly inspired architecture. This is stunning!
BigGoofyGuy
I agree, it looks like something that one would see in the Aliens movie. It looks creepy and cool at the same time. I guess if an orb spider went to archeticture school, this might be what it came up with. :)
yrag
Astoundingly self indulgent. Might make a good sci-fi set.
If there's a useful idea in all of this, the provided wisps of a cocoon utterly fail to communicate what it is. If it rains,or cold winds blow, the structure as shown would provide no shelter.
John McMullen
Dusting would be a monumental undertaking...
Karen Lee
I would live in a structure like this if it helped with re-purposing Plastic Products; Especially the Soda & Bottle " 6 Pack" Loops of Plastic that kill so much sealife.