3D-printed Walls Revive Abandoned Rural Houses In China


Sustainable Building Practices Revive Abandoned Houses With 3D-Printing

Professors John Lin and Lidia Ratoi from the University of Hong Kong have created a prototype project called the ‘Traditional House of the Future’ using 3-D printed walls to revive abandoned rural homes in mainland China.

Utilising 3D-printing technology, the project combines an abandoned traditional wooden house in China with a 3D-printed structure. The project is part of a government plan in Nanlong Village in southwest China, to renovate hundreds of old wooden houses that have become dilapidated over the years.

Professors Lin and Ratoi scanned the original house before dismantling it, expanding and supporting the house using the 3D-printed walls.

3D-printed Walls Revive Abandoned Rural Houses In China 1
Josh Lin & Lidia Ratoi

The 3D-printed exterior walls were added to expand the space of the original house and additional dividing walls were also added to create an entrance courtyard kitchen and bathrooms.

The wooden structure and tiled roof were then added back to the house after the construction of the 3D-printed walls. 

3D-printed Walls Revive Abandoned Rural Houses In China 2
Josh Lin & Lidia Ratoi

Based on research by Lin and Sony Devabhaktuni from the University of Hong Kong, the design presents a new perspective on ancient dwellings in rural China. This research saw these long-standing homes as flexible, adding continuous design modifications that could respond to changing lifestyles, instead of pure preservation of cultural heritage.

The lack of flexible spaces to incorporate modern amenities in traditional Chinese wooden houses has often led to them being abandoned. But, by adding 3D- printed walls and recycling these old houses into new, these houses may support more tenets for years to come.

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