3D-Druck-Haus in Beckum

With Bette in the bathroom: first 3D printed home in Germany

Badeszimmer des 3D-Druck-Hauses in Deutschland

For plan­ner and archi­tect Alexan­der Hoff­mann 3D print­ing also means a high degree of design free­dom in the design of bathrooms.

Beckum in Münsterland is now home to Germany's first single-family house built using the 3D concrete printing process. The visionary project features a Bette bath tub and two Bette shower trays.

For planner and architect Alexander Hoffmann from Mense-Korte ingenieure + architekten, who supervised the project, 3D printing means a high degree of design freedom in the design of buildings. If the technology catches on, Hoffmann says, they will be able to realise shapes in the future that would only be feasible in conventional construction at great financial expense.

Custom-fit production for bath tub and shower trays

Maßanfertigung im Badezimmer des ersten 3D-Druck Hauses in Deutschland

The BettePool Oval fitted perfectly into the design of the rounded house wall and the bath apron.

The two-storey residential building in Beckum with around 160 square metres of living space was first created three-dimensionally on the computer before the 3D concrete printer printed everything out with centimetre precision. And that was done in the course of just a few days. At a speed of up to one metre per second, the print head spit concrete out like cream from a squirt bag while it moved along its programmed path on a permanently installed metal framework. Layer by layer, the walls of a building grew upwards. An exciting moment for architects and craftsmen was the insertion of the bath products into the printed form. But not only did the installation of the two BetteFloor shower surfaces into the prefabricated components go smoothly, as architect Alexander Hoffmann mentions, the BettePool Oval also fitted perfectly into the design of the rounded house wall and the bath apron, which had also been printed from concrete. An experiment that shows that it is possible that architecture from the printer can successfully combine well thought-out design and high-quality material with precise technology and modern methods.

Changing planning and construction process with 3D printing

Außenfassade des 3D-Druck-Hauses in Deutschland

3D tech­nol­ogy might change the plan­ning and con­struc­tion process of houses. This can be seen, for example, in the rounded corners of the Beckum 3D house.

As Alexander Hoffmann and plumber Tobias Leifhelm (Leifhelm & Pelkmann) both explain 3D technology might change the planning and construction process of houses. The special feature of this 3D house, Hoffmann says, is that it has rounded corners everywhere. “Such features are very demanding to implement in conventional construction and cost a lot of time.” With 3D printing, he carries on, “we save about 50 per cent of the time.” Another advantage, the architect counts on, is “the design freedom for the architect and the client. Then there are the short construction times. The material savings. I need less manpower on the construction site, two to three people are enough. And the fact that we can implement the ancillary trades at an early stage and thus achieve a high planning quality.” This is particularly evident in the bathroom.

“The bathroom is a very demanding space. Many trades are involved there,” Tobias Leifhelm explains. “If everyone is on board from the beginning, you also achieve good results. That's exactly what the 3D printing process requires, i.e. that you coordinate all technical and design-related issues with everyone involved at an early stage so that everything fits and works in the end. The result is then also much better. It's really great that you can be so creative. That we can find individual solutions that are also economically justifiable.”

Alexander Hoffmann emphasises once more the importance of the motivation of all those involved in the project: “With a project like this, it is extremely important to have motivated people involved. We are doing research and innovation here, you have to get everyone around the table and think about how to solve a problem. I sweated blood and water over the bath. We had previously received a 3D file from Bette with the exact curvature of the bath, and we fed this data into our planning tool. But the fact that the bathtub really did fit perfectly in the end was of course simply super.”

A detailed interview with Alexander Hoffmann and Tobias Leifhelm you can find here.