Hendrik Baskeweg

Unique transformation of apartment buildings with 3D printed concrete

In Den Helder, in the north of the Netherlands, two apartment buildings dating from the 1970s will be transformed into a unique design based on the implementation of 3D concrete printing. In inhabited state the monotonous blocks will undergo a spectacular metamorphosis with large balconies, curved shapes in three directions and many sculptural elements.

animation Hendrik Baskeweg ] [ animation 3D-concrete printing ]

The city of Den Helder is a remote Dutch town with a shrinking population. The local housing corporation is obliged to demolish many buildings. Other buildings, like the complex at Baskeweg, are being updated and invested in. These choices are made while considering aspects as structural quality, size of floorplans and proximity of services like shops and public transport.

In general the re-use of buildings is the best policy in terms of sustainability. The extension of the lifespan is at least 50 years. Besides several interventions like solar-panels and a connection to the city heat-network, the overall appearance will change into a modern, high-quality new construction. Aesthetics are considered of great importance. A well-designed building is sustainable by definition: It will be valued in the coming years and maintained in the long run, not in the least by the residents themselves.

The 3D-printing method is developed in close cooperation with the manufacturing industry. In a period of two years all of the 125 unique concrete elements are designed, tested and optimized. Several 3D-CAD programs are aligned making sure that the original models by Kokon are used in the print-factory with aspects as strength, aging and surface pollution controlled. The way this is achieved is a giant leap forward. With traditional building methods the new freedom of form in architecture would never be economically viable. Due to the chosen production method, individual different parts can be produced with the same ease and costs as in serial production. Overall, the design encompasses 1200 printed elements.

The facade is divided in a plinth, middle segment and cornice. The two-storey plinth is an arcade, providing a sheltered passage to the parking lot. In the middle segment, the extended balconies are organically intertwined which adds to the overall dynamics of the buildings. The cornice alters the silhouette, thus defining the change and the second life of the blocks.

The 3D concrete printing method is manufactured by Bruil Prefab, Ede, the Netherlands.

The transformation will be realized while the buildings remain fully inhabited.



Location Den Helder
Client Woningstichting Den Helder
Ron Van Leeuwen ceo / architect / urban designer
Thom Pegman assistent designer
Peter van Middelkoop project leader / building physicist
Wim Baas project leader / technical designer