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Largest 3D-printed affordable housing complex materializes in Kenya

The Kenyan town of Kilifi will soon be able to boast the world's largest 3D-printed affordable housing complex. In February 2023, developer 14Trees announced it had finished printing the community's first ten houses. 

The neighborhood, Mvule Gardens, will feature 52 homes with either two or three bedrooms. Each has a front porch and a private backyard. Using just one 3D printer, 14Trees can print the walls for a two-bedroom house in 18 hours, with three bedrooms taking an additional 10 hours. Pricing for the 3D-printed homes starts at KES 3,610,000 (around USD 28,000). For comparison, the average price of a 2-bedroom house in Kilifi is KES 4,900,000 (USD 38,000).

14Trees is a joint venture between Holcim, a Swiss manufacturer of building materials, and British International Investment. The partnership was forged to commercialize green building solutions in African countries facing deforestation in part due to the demand for wood used to produce traditional bricks.

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With demand outstripping supply worldwide, the global housing crisis could impact 1.6 billion people by 2025. And the shortage is especially acute when it comes to affordable housing. Meanwhile, increased construction puts additional pressure on resources. One of 3D printing's main benefits is that no material is wasted in building a home's walls.

14Trees isn't the only organization that views 3D printing as a method to crank out homes in record time while lowering construction's environmental impact. New Story is working with ICON to complete a similarly-scaled community for low-income families in Tabasco, Mexico.