A new technology is hoping to give a facelift to the dilapidated living conditions of rural villages in China. See, China has a problem—income in urban areas is three times higher than in rural areas and as time passes that gap is only widening. Ma Yihe has been working to perfect 3-D printing for over 12 years and says he has a solution that you should be taking seriously. In under 24 hours, Yihe manufactured 10 single-storey, detached homes for less than 5,000 dollars each.
Besides being a sliver of the cost of conventional house construction, the 3-D printed houses are environmentally-friendly. Instead of using brick and mortar, the houses consist of a cement made using construction waste. Built with stability and thermal retention in mind, the houses also borrow from the simplified living ethos of the tiny house movement.
3-D printing is quickly evolving the manufacturing world, helping to reduce financial and environmental costs, while also democratizing means of production. Last year, a 12-year-old boy was the first to have a 3-D printed vertebrae implanted in his spine. Even urban gardens have been created using the technology.
The houses were built using printers that are 6.6 metres high and 10 metres wide. And Ma Yihe practices what he preaches—his company’s own research centre was built using his technology. Currently the technology is moving at a faster pace than regulation, and building codes for 3-D printed architecture have yet to be put into place.
While the first 10 houses will serve as office space in a small town outside Shanghai, Ma Yihe believes that the technology could dramatically change the future by levelling the financial playing field for Chinese villagers. Yihe’s brand of 3-D printing drastically reduces the time to conceptualize and bring projects to life while simultaneously supporting China’s recent green initiatives. In the coming years, he foresees entire city skylines being built using 3-D printing.