Changing Paradigms

AM Summit breakout session: 3D printing sustainable cities focused on how additive manufacturing technologies can help build the sustainable cities of the future. 3D printing houses, systems, and components can help to create more affordable housing options and even entire residential areas. The session addressed how 3D printing technology is the future of construction with its multitude of unrealised sustainable and economic opportunities. 


The breakout session was moderated by Frank Rosengreen Lorenzen, CEO, Danish AM Hub. The panellists included: 

  • Morten Bove, Founder and CEO, WOHN 
  • Sebastian Aristotelis, Co-Founder and Lead Architect, SAGA Architects & 3DCP Group 
  • Paul Nicholas, Associate Professor, CITA, The Royal Danish Academy, School of Architecture 
  • Henry Glogau, Architect, GXN Innovation 


The construction sector is one of the most environmentally damaging industries globally and yet despite this knowledge it has been very slow to respond. New technologies like additive manufacturing present some major advantages and has potential to significantly improve the environmental impact of construction and architecture. 


Demonstrate how AM contributes to sustainable construction 

The panellists agree that it is important to showcase what is possible and demonstrate the potentials of AM for sustainable construction. This includes documenting resource streams and value streams. Architects and designers are early adopters, but there is a movement taking place also by other actors in the construction industry where the approach to construction projects is multidisciplinary by nature. 

The move to using and developing renewable materials is under development, e.g., in cooperation between industry and academia. Reaching larger scale of 3D printing for construction projects is also under development. From the side of CITA, The Royal Danish Academy, School of Architecture, sustainability is increasingly a focus for students. For example, students grow new AM materials such as mycelium, they design their own tooling and generally use AM technology in the move from the traditional to a more integrated process. 

A significant point highlighted by panellists in the move towards a more sustainable construction industry is to build smaller, and to support design for disassembly. Changing the expectations to buildings and materials is also significant, leading to the issue of regulation. 


Regulation is not adapted to AM and new materials 

Increasingly the demand for sustainable construction is there, but regulation is not catching up. A key challenge regarding realising the potentials of AM in construction is to impact changes on regulation and standards. New materials need to meet standards especially regarding moisture and fire safety, and consequently the issue of insurance becomes a barrier for using new materials. Attention should therefore be directed towards finding faster and alternative ways for materials to enter the market.