This house, which is 3D printed, can be constructed in just two days and has a price equivalent to that of a car.

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3D printing has been gaining popularity as a construction method, with numerous companies building entire 3D printed neighborhoods around the world. However, critics argue that the technique is not as cost-effective or environmentally friendly as its advocates claim. Despite this skepticism, Japanese company Serendix aims to prove these critics wrong by 3D printing tiny homes that cost just $37,600.

It is important to note that these homes are quite small, measuring 538 square feet, which is roughly the size of a large studio apartment. Nevertheless, they are designed with functionality in mind. Known as Fujitsubo, meaning “barnacle” in Japanese, these homes consist of a bedroom, a bathroom, and an open-concept living/kitchen space. The compact size of these homes is not surprising in Japan, where people tend to live in smaller spaces compared to Americans or Europeans. The average home size in Japan is 93 square meters (just over 1,000 square feet), while in the US, the average single-family house occupies 2,273 square feet.

Serendix created the Fujitsubo design partly to cater to the demand from older married couples who want to downsize during their retirement. The company’s first completed home in Japan, called the Sphere, was more of a proof of concept than an actual house, measuring only 107 square feet. However, it was a success, as it was printed and assembled in less than 24 hours and met the earthquake and insulation standards of both Japan and Europe. The company envisions the Sphere being used for emergency housing, as a stand-alone cabin or hotel room for vacationers. Its construction cost was $25,500.

Unlike the Sphere, Fujitsubo’s walls are printed in separate sections that are then attached to its foundation using steel columns. The roof consists of panels cut by a computer numerical control (CNC) machine, which utilizes pre-programmed software to control the movement of factory tools and machinery. It took Serendix 44.5 hours to print and assemble the entire home.

One of the major concerns critics have about 3D printed construction is its feasibility in dense urban areas, where there is a greater need for low-cost housing. Big cities typically have limited extra space or empty land available, making it inefficient and costly to place a 3D printed home there. Serendix understands this challenge and is focused on building in small towns where more land is available. With the recent exodus from city centers during the pandemic and the increase in remote work, the company sees a strong market for its homes in non-urban locations.

Once the necessary safety approvals are obtained, Serendix plans to sell its first six Fujitsubo homes for the equivalent of $37,600, which is well below the average price of a home in Japan and even cheaper than many cars. The company currently has five 3D printers, each capable of building up to 50 homes in a year. By acquiring 12 more printers, Serendix aims to increase its capacity to build as many as 850 houses annually.

Serendix believes that the 3D printed house is just the beginning of complete robotization in the housing industry. Drawing a parallel with the automotive industry 40 years ago, the company highlights how innovation in manufacturing processes using robots led to a reduction in product prices. They anticipate a similar trajectory in the housing sector with the advent of 3D printed homes.

In conclusion, Serendix is challenging the scrutiny surrounding 3D printed construction by creating affordable and functional tiny homes. While critics raise concerns about its cost-effectiveness and feasibility in urban areas, the company is focusing on small towns where more land is available. With the potential demand for these homes in non-urban locations, Serendix aims to revolutionize the housing industry by utilizing 3D printing technology.

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