3D-Printer Technology to Be Used to Build Houses in Quake-Damaged Noto Peninsula, War-Torn Ukraine

Courtesy of Serendix Inc.
A 50-square-meter single-story house made with a 3D printer

HIROSHIMA — 3D-printer technology that can build a house with concrete materials in less than a day will be utilized in earthquake-damaged areas on the Noto Peninsula and in war-torn Ukraine.

The method was developed by construction start-up Serendix Inc., a Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture-based company established in 2018. Aiming to establish a system to provide housing units in a completely new way, Serendix developed a sphere-shaped house with 10 square meters of floor space in 2022, and a single-story house with 50 square meters in 2023. Excluding tax, the sphere-shaped dwelling costs ¥3.3 million and the single-story house ¥5.5 million. Plumbing, air conditioning and other features need to be added later.

The company caps the prices for its dwellings at the same level as a passenger car.

A single-story house will be built this way, starting late this month, in Suzu, Ishikawa Prefecture, where the Noto Peninsula Earthquake destroyed or severely damaged a total of about 7,000 houses.

Sanbyakugari Kanko, a housing equipment service company in the city, ordered the 3D-printed house, saying that it wants to build a futuristic house that can be a symbol of reconstruction and bring cheer to the local community.

Many survivors of the quake who have taken shelter in and outside the city are elderly. It is therefore financially difficult for them to build an ordinary wooden house from scratch. Serendix aims to provide a low-cost option.

Masahiro Kura, 64, a local community representative of the Sukemasa district in the city, proposed the construction to Sanbyakugari Kanko.

“It will soon be half a year since the earthquake. Half of the about 40 residents here live in shelters or similar facilities because they still don’t know when they can move to temporary housing units. I want them to be able to look forward, even just a little,” Kura said.

Houses built by 3D printers will also be part of Japanese government-funded projects for Ukraine’s recovery from the ravages of the war.

According to estimates by the World Bank and others, Russian bombing has destroyed housing complexes and other housing facilities for about 2 million households. A plan has been conceived to use 3D printers to build new houses with 70 square meters of floor space each.

Serendix participates in an aid framework that was decided on at the Japan-Ukraine Conference for Promotion of Economic Growth and Reconstruction, the first meeting of which was held in February. The company will provide the blueprints necessary for operating 3D printers free of charge.

Last month, Serendix conducted an experiment at a beach in Saka, Hiroshima Prefecture. Special mortars containing steel fibers were used to fill empty spaces inside construction materials, to enhance the strength of a structure.

Including waterproofing, the company finished constructing a sphere-shaped house in slightly more than 19 hours.

Serendix has received more than 10,000 inquiries from home and abroad, including disaster-hit areas and places of armed conflicts. The company plans to enhance its plants and production of the 3D printers.

“For people who have lost houses to disasters or war, we want to prepare mass-production systems as soon as possible,” said Chief Operating Officer Kunihiro Handa, 51.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A sphere-shaped house is built with materials created by a 3D printer in Saka, Hiroshima Prefecture.