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Kenya to construct Africa’s largest 3D-printed affordable housing project

14Tree’s first prototype house in Malawi was built in less than 12 hours. (Image source: 14Trees)

14Trees, a joint venture between Holcim and CDC Group, will develop Africa’s largest 3D-printed affordable housing project in Kilifi town, north of Mombasa, Kenya

The 52 house Mvule Gardens project spring into existence in record time thanks to the exciting 3D printing technology. 14Trees, earlier this year, built the world's first 3D printed school in the Salima district of Malawi.

The company's first 3D-printed prototype house in Lilongwe, Malawi was built with precision in less than 12 hours, which significantly reduces the four days spent building a home with conventional building practices.

The new complex in Kenya underscores 14Trees' forward plan to support Africa's innovation in construction and further develop 3D printing technology across the continent.

This project was made possible by Holcim’s proprietary ink, TectorPrint, giving the walls structural function to bear the load of the building. The new technique reduces the environmental footprint by more than 50% compared to traditional processes and lowers CO2 emissions typical to standard methods of cement production.

Further, 14Trees identifies natural fibre components to strengthen best practices in 3D printing for construction in Africa and creates locally based skilled jobs in sustainability and 3D technology operations, among other areas.

The new 52 house community will be part of the Green Heart of Kenya regenerative ecosystem, a Kenyan model for inclusive and climate-resilient cities. 14Trees will begin construction of Mvule Gardens in the first quarter of 2022.

Jan Jenisch, CEO, Holcim, commented, “We are excited to be building one of the world’s largest 3D-printed affordable housing projects in Kenya. With today’s rapid urbanisation, over three billion people are expected to need affordable housing by 2030. This issue is most acute in Africa, with countries like Kenya already facing an estimated shortage of two million houses. By deploying 3D-printing, we can address this infrastructure gap at scale to increase living standards for all.”

The innovation is a valuable, rapid, and economical solution to the housing deficit in sub-Saharan Africa, which is estimated at 50 million units.

Commenting on 14Trees ability to develop safe, well-located, and reliable homes for communities across Africa, Tenbite Ermias, head of Africa and Africa managing director, CDC Group, said, "14 Trees is pioneering the use of leading-edge technology to address one of Africa's most pressing development needs (affordable housing) to create life-changing infrastructure for whole communities."

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