Affordable Housing

Building the future of Detroit’s first 3D-Printed home.

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Local architect Bryan Cook, the driving force behind Develop Architecture, joined forces with the nonprofit organization Citizen Robotics to bring this concept to life. Their mission: is to fill the city’s empty lots with affordable and aesthetically fitting housing solutions. In the heart of Detroit’s Islandview area, during this year’s Detroit Month of Design, their vision took shape—a 1,000-square-foot, two-bedroom cottage designed to blend seamlessly with the neighborhood’s architectural vernacular. Stucco panels, a pitched wooden roof, and a welcoming front porch pay homage to the city’s residential heritage. Citizen Robotics, led by the father-daughter duo Evelyn and Tom Woodman, deployed a robot once used in an automotive factory in Chicago to construct the home’s walls. These walls are reinforced with a mass-timber frame, ensuring structural integrity. Remarkably, once these walls pass their load-bearing tests, the frame can be removed, paving the way for future design iterations—a testament to the home’s adaptability.
A Vision for the Future

Citizen Robotics harbors ambitions of disrupting the home building industry with this groundbreaking technology. Yet, unlike other 3D-printed homes featuring unconventional designs, this Detroit gem stays true to the neighborhood’s character. The focus isn’t just on revolutionizing construction but on creating homes that harmonize with their surroundings.

Building this 3D-printed home was a feat of efficiency. The structure was printed within five days at Citizen’s facility in Southwest Detroit and assembled on-site in just a day and a half—a stark contrast to traditional construction timelines. While construction costs were slightly higher, the team’s goal was to match or beat the price per square foot of stick-built homes. They aim to achieve not only upfront cost savings but also enhanced thermal efficiency to keep utility bills affordable.

Set to be priced in line with the neighborhood’s median income of $49,700, the Islandview home represents a pivotal step in addressing Detroit’s housing challenges. It marks the beginning of what Cook and Citizen Robotics hope will be a series of 3D-printed homes across the city. Their vision extends beyond affordable housing—it aims to bring stability, sustainability, and exceptional design to the housing industry.
Empowering the Future. Detroit’s 3D-printed home project also holds the promise of new tech job opportunities and education. By sharing their technology, Cook and Citizen Robotics aim to accelerate home construction and contribute to affordable housing. Their use of off-the-shelf components ensures replicability, making this innovative approach accessible. It’s a project that paves the way for automated robots to build houses, potentially creating tech jobs for Detroit’s diverse community.

This remarkable endeavor not only redefines Detroit’s skyline but also reinvigorates its spirit. As Bryan Cook aptly states, “The 3D nature of this house and the potential of its manufacturing, that’s an inherent part of Detroit.” It’s a testament to the resilience and innovation that define the Motor City.

3D-Printed tiny home where innovation meets affordability.

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Construction innovation often comes with a hefty price tag. But what if we told you that a Japanese company has managed to 3D print a concrete tiny home for the same price as an average car? For years, the concept of 3D-printed homes has tantalized our imaginations. The idea of a machine constructing an entire house, layer by layer, seemed like science fiction. However, this technology has rapidly evolved, and it’s no longer a distant dream. Japanese construction company In a world where housing prices continue to soar, Japan-based housing company Serendix is pioneering an innovative solution that could change the way we think about homeownership. This achievement is not only impressive but potentially transformative.

Serendix made waves back in March 2022 when they unveiled the ‘serendix10,’ a 3D-printed home that took less than 24 hours to print. By October, all six editions of this revolutionary home had been sold out. Riding on the success of the serendix10, the company embarked on a new venture—designing and constructing the serendix50, also known as the ‘barnacle model.’The inspiration behind the serendix50 was the demand from older married couples seeking a comfortable home for their retirement years. The result? A 538-square-foot masterpiece created in just 44 hours and 30 minutes. What’s particularly interesting about the serendix50 is that it combines two digital fabrication techniques: 3D printing for the framework and CNC cutting for the roofing.

The serendix50 comes with a price tag of $34,000. Yes, you read that right—$34,000! That’s a staggering 90% less than the average house price in Japan. It’s a game-changer, making homeownership a reality for many who might have thought it was out of reach. With this achievement, Serendix is opening the door to a future where ordinary people can purchase high-quality, safe, and affordable homes without the burden of a mortgage.
Serendix’s statement perfectly captures the essence of this breakthrough: “Until now, the house was haute couture (depending on the craftsman), and it was natural that the cost was high at tens of millions of yen. In the automotive industry, 40 years ago, the price reduction of products began due to the innovation of the manufacturing process using robots. We believe that the 3D printer house is the beginning of complete robotization of the housing industry.”This isn’t just a technological feat; it’s a societal shift. It’s akin to how robots revolutionized the automotive industry four decades ago, making cars more accessible to the masses. Now, Serendix is doing the same for the housing industry, marking the dawn of a new era. The serendix50 joins the ranks of impressive projects. It showcases the potential of 3D printing in creating affordable housing solutions, addressing one of the most pressing challenges of our time. It’s not just about constructing houses; it’s about reshaping the way we envision homeownership.

As we look to the future, projects like the serendix50 remind us that innovation knows no bounds. It’s a testament to human ingenuity and the limitless possibilities of technology. With affordable 3D-printed houses on the horizon, the dream of owning a home can become a reality for more people than ever before. Serendix has ignited a spark of hope, and we can’t wait to see where this journey takes us.

By Niall Patrick Walsh.“Japan’s Serendix Completes ‘Serendix50’: A 3D-Printed House for the Price of a Car.” Aug 17, ’23 11:42 AM EST. Japanese company delivers 3D printed home bought for the price of a car.