Milestone, by the Houben / Van Mierlo studio, is among the first residential construction projects in the world made of concrete with 3D printing

We are in Eindhoven, Holland, in the Meerhoven district: this is where the 'sculpture garden' 'will be built, consisting of the five houses of Project Milestone.

The project started in 2016/2017 and in 2019 it was completed by the construction company Saint-Gobain Weber Beamix, in collaboration with the Eindhoven University of Technology and the real estate company Vesteda, the first home of the Milestone. The first 3D printed in Holland and the first inhabited in Europe.

The design, signed by the architects Houben / Van Mierlo relies on the freedom of shape guaranteed by additive manufacturing technologies and adapts to the natural context of the neighborhood, located in a pleasant and quiet wooded area.

The structure of the houses, some on one floor, others on two, is compact and characterized by soft organic lines, so as to let the natural landscape penetrate as much as possible between the volumes of the buildings. The image is that of groups of menhirs, arranged in a semicircle, which rise from a clearing in the forest.

The difference with the symbolic boulders, however, is given by the facades which, in this case, open onto the surrounding nature thanks to large windows. The semicircle arrangement also allows the creation of a common space dedicated to play and socializing.

The use of concrete with 3D printing technique allows a design freedom unattainable with the rigid forms given by traditional concrete, freedom, which in this case the architects have exploited to the maximum both in the outward-facing lines, seeking a continuous dialogue with the surrounding environment, and in the internal distribution.

Observing the renderings of the five houses it seems to be in front of a suggestive timeless image, full of mysteries, where each building could be an ancient boulder, always located in this green oasis, and in complete symbiosis with nature.

It is a couple who have been living in the first of the 5 buildings envisaged by the Milestone project since 2020: it is a house of 94 square meters, sustainable and efficient from an energy point of view. The living area, consisting of a living room with kitchen, was conceived as a single open space that occupies half the surface of the house, completed by a large double bedroom and bathroom.

It is a real jewel from a technological point of view that is highlighting all the advantages of a construction technology still viewed with distrust.

The technique used, called 'Construction 4.0', works with the paste material, consisting of concrete and earth implants in layers, which is ejected through a pipe.

This saves time, effort and the amount of material used compared to traditional construction methods. One of the most obvious advantages, for example, is that the concrete printer is able to lay the material only where necessary, but usually the poured quantity is considerably abundant compared to that actually used.

As already mentioned, then, there is formal freedom: builders who use 3D printing will soon be able to create very small concrete details, as well as round, hollow and convex shapes. Finally, thanks to programming, the result each time can already be designed so as to contain the functions necessary for that specific building element, it can contain, for example, the necessary recesses and drainage pipes.

The time elapsed between the design and delivery of the first house was relatively long, because the entire engineering aspect was addressed for the first time.

For the delivery of the other 4 houses of the Milestone Project, a drastic reduction in delivery times is expected: they will be two-storey houses with floors and roofing in stamped concrete (while the roof of the first house was made of wood). Finally, the foundations remain based on traditional concrete casting technology.