Upgrade Hendrik Baskeweg is the world’s largest 3D concrete printed project


A world premiere for Kokon Architecture & Urban Design, Helder Vastgoed and Bruil: this month, the upgrading of two dated apartment buildings in Den Helder, the Netherlands, will start by means of 3D printed concrete balconies and widened galleries. The project will be carried out while apartments remain inhabited. Worldwide, this is the largest project to date in the field of 3D concrete printing and the first time that the technique will be applied this way. The transformation will extend the life span of the buildings by 50 years.

For Helder Vastgoed, it became clear that the existing structures of the two outdated apartment buildings were adequate enough to prevent demolition. Instead, the dull complexes are being enlivened according to the striking design with new elements, such as enlarged balconies and galleries (desired by many residents), solar panels and insulated facades. Upgrading in this way is more affordable, sustainable and faster than a completely new construction.

Sustainable solution

By definition, the 50-year life span extension is the most sustainable intervention possible. Existing materials and facilities in the flats will be reused. No large amounts of new materials need to be transported, limiting CO2 emissions. Other energy-saving measures include the installation of solar roofpanels and the insulation of existing facades.

Form freedom

No moulds are required for printing the balconies, meaning that the form freedom in the design is substantial. The architect has taken advantage of this. Ron van Leeuwen, CEO at Kokon: "The extremely monotonous, large-scale and rectangular flats will be transformed into vibrant and enlivened buildings with many curved forms in a human scale. Our ambition is to create a unique architecture despite the limitations of the existing buildings." Read more about the distinguishing design here.

Streamlined production

In contrast to a traditional process, the 3D model of the architect is used all the way to the concrete printer control of prefab manufacturer Bruil. This completely streamlines the production of the 1350 printed elements. Van Leeuwen: "This is a tremendous improvement compared to other construction projects, where all the consultants make their own models. In order to get this far, a significant amount of innovation was required, both technical and process-wise, asking all parties involved to think out of the box.”

Involved parties

Together with Helder Vastgoed and Bruil, we are extremely proud to be able to realize this project. Since 1962 Helder Vastgoed has been realizing, managing and renovating housing projects in North Holland. The Edese prefab manufacturer Bruil produces all the printed concrete elements. Production will begin in January of this year. The first 3D elements will be installed in April.