Marco Polo 100 Digital Build Challenge

Canada’s first 3D printed housing community to be built

Renewable energy firm, Horizon Legacy Group, publishes plans to build Canada’s first 3D printed housing neighbourhood.

It’s part of their ‘Marco Polo 100 Digital Build Challenge’, and the company is offering CAD$10 million to fund the R&D to revolutionise construction, build affordable housing for CAD$100/sq ft with 3D printing (3D printed housing), prefabrication, robotics or emerging technologies.

According to the group, the construction industry is making “very little progress” when it comes to house building processes, and many firms still use “century-old technologies.” To help accelerate the sector’s adoption of digital techniques, the Horizon Legacy Group established its ‘Marco Polo 100’ contest, through which it aims to develop approaches that represent a “qualitative leap” for the industry. 

Stage 1 of the design challenge opened in October last year and received entries from more than 400 people in 60 countries. Having been assessed by a 12-member jury, with construction, 3D printing, prefabrication, robotics and engineering expertise, these approaches have now been reduced down to just six, which will enter initial trials over the next year. 

Winning designs included the ‘Scoolpt’ from the Czech Republic, ‘O-Cube’ from Canada and ‘Hivetat’ from the USA, as well as entries from CyBe, Imprimere and UBB Chile, from the Netherlands, Switzerland and Chile respectively.

All six finalists have agreed to work with Canadian architects to formalise their designs, obtain a local building permit and erect a small prototype structure. Judged on the same criteria as before, the resulting structures could then be narrowed down to just one approved build, although the Horizon Legacy Group has left the door open for each of the six designs to be realised. 

Watch the (lengthy) design submissions here:

Once these designs have gained the local approval needed, they’re then set to enter final construction from August 2022 in Gananoque, Ontario, a small 5000-strong rural community.

The contest’s backers hope that it “showcases innovative construction technologies,” and yields a process that “improves the efficiency and productivity” of house building while reducing the cost of homes for buyers. 


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