World’s First 3D Printed School Built with COBOD Construction Printer Welcomes Students
A 3D printed school, said to be the first in the world, was completed in Malawi, Africa, and welcomed students through its doors.
The school was built using a 3D construction printer from the Danish 3D printing construction company COBOD as part of a project with 14Trees, a joint venture specializing in construction materials LafargeHolcim and CDC Group, the UK’s public impact investor.
Printed in just 18 hours, the school was born out of a need to fill Africa’s enormous deficit in terms of educational provision, with Unicef estimating a shortage of 36,000 classrooms in Malawi alone. According to 14Trees, this infrastructure gap could be filled in the next decade alone with 3D construction printing technology, which the company says has already been well received in the country.
âI am very proud of the way our colleagues at 14Trees have deployed cutting-edge 3D printing technology to meet such a critical infrastructure need,â said Miljan Gutovic, regional manager for Europe, Middle East and Africa. LafargeHolcim group. âNow that we have proven the concept in Malawi, we look forward to expanding this technology across the region, with projects already underway in Kenya and Zimbabwe. “
Solving school shortages with 3D printing
14Trees began deploying its 3D printing technology on a large scale to build affordable, low-carbon housing and schools in Africa last year. The project is initially deployed in Malawi before expanding to Zimbabwe later this year, and in time to Kenya.
The technology combines a proprietary ink developed by LafargeHolcim with a BOD2 robotic 3D construction printer supplied by COBOD, and is expected to significantly reduce the time and cost of building houses and schools in Malawi. 3D printing technology is also believed to reduce the carbon footprint of building new homes by up to 70% through optimized use of materials.
The walls of the Malawi school were printed in just 18 hours, with the building spanning 56 square meters, thanks to BOD2’s ability to print concrete structures up to 10 meters in length and width and three meters high. The children have now moved into the classrooms to start the lessons, and the Malawian director of education is said to be in awe of the school.
Representing the headmistress, Juliana Kuphanga Chikandila, Primary Education Advisor, said: âI am very impressed with the new building – its durability and design provides space and facilities that the students did not have before.
“This school will attract more students and the learners who left will go back to school.”
COBOD’s 3D printing construction efforts
COBOD’s robotic construction 3D printers have already been deployed for several large-scale additive manufacturing construction projects, including the construction of the first 3D printed commercial building in Wallenhausen, Germany.
The project was led by a construction company based in Germany PERI Group, who has extensive experience in operating BOD2 in various European projects. Another such project involved erecting Germany’s first âmarket readyâ 3D printed residential building, a two-story house in North Rhine-Westphalia.
In addition, the company’s involvement in the successful 3D printing of the first ‘record’ 10 meter high concrete wind turbine tower base last year alongside LafargeHolcim and GE renewable energy was presented to US President Joe Biden at a recent climate summit.
More recently, COBOD’s BOD2 printer has been used by Habitat for Humanity, a non-profit organization dedicated to the fight against poverty, to 3D print a single-family home with three bedrooms and two bathrooms. Once completed, a family chosen by Habitat for Humanity will be invited to live in the house.
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Featured Image Shows Malawian schoolchildren are taught at the world’s first 3D printed school made by 14Trees with a COBOD BOD2 printer. Photo by Bennie Khanyizira.