In China, construction companies are pioneering 3D-printed houses that can be created in a matter of hours. Just a few months after the world’s first fully 3D-printed office opened in Dubai (with the help of the Chinese architectural printers WinSun), the Beijing architects HuaShang Tengda are pushing the idea of cookie-cutter printed structures even further. According to Curbed, they’ve created a 3D-printed house that can withstand earthquakes of a magnitude of up to 8.0 on the Richter scale.

The 4300-square-foot Beijing villa was printed with layer upon layer of reinforced concrete over the course of 45 hours. Some walls are more than 8 feet thick, which the architects claim will allow the house to stand in all but the most intense earthquakes. (The strongest earthquake yet recorded, a 9.5, occurred in Chile in 1960.)

The home is a bit of a cross between a luxury palace and a prison bunker, and most people will not have the space to build a house with 8-foot-thick walls. Still, it does mark progress toward building earthquake-resistant dwellings in a more cost-effective way.

The majority of earthquake-related deaths come from building collapses, and poor communities can’t afford well-designed, reinforced construction projects. In 2008, the Chinese government admitted that poor construction played a major role in the deaths of up to 10,000 students during a 7.9-magnitude earthquake, when 7000 school classrooms collapsed. If engineers can churn out extremely sturdy buildings on the cheap, it could save lives.

[h/t Curbed]

All images courtesy HuaShang Tengda

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