A team in the Czech Republic is laying the foundation to lead the country’s next housing revolution—one tiny home at a time.
Designed by sculptor and architect Michal Trpák, Prvok is an experimental project to create the first 3D-printed home in the Czech Republic. Although the pilot will float on a pontoon, the diminutive domicile can stand on land and comes complete with a bedroom, living room and kitchen, and a bathroom all within an area of 43 square meters (463 square feet). Built with the environment in mind, the house is outfitted with eco-friendly features, including a shower that recycles water, a roof covered in vegetation, and reservoirs for drinking, utility and sewage water.
But the real innovation comes in the construction techniques—and the savings they deliver. Project sponsor Ceske spořitelny Building Savings Bank says the 3D printing method used by the team allows the home to be built seven times faster, at half the cost of a brick house and with a total of 25 workers versus the typical 65. It also estimates 3D printing creates up to 20 percent less carbon dioxide than an equivalent brick building and eradicates much of the construction and demolition waste as well.
Prvok is built layer-by-layer using a robot arm repurposed from the auto industry. The machine deposits a specially formulated concrete that sets to the hardness of a standard house foundation within 24 hours.
Even with the super-speedy delivery, the structure and materials are expected to remain standing for at least 100 years in any environment. But if users have other plans, it’s not a problem: “In the future, the owners can crush the building once it has run its useful life, and print it again with the same material directly on the location,” says Trpák. The house may be small, but the team is betting it could be a big step toward more affordable and less wasteful construction methods across Europe.