Candelaria Design has been reimagining European architecture from centuries ago, bringing its signature Old World and Mediterranean styles to life. More recently, we’ve seen the firm reveal beautiful modern, farmhouse and traditional designs from a team doing work in eight states and three countries. Today, the firm plants its feet firmly in the future with the first-ever 3D printed home underway in Tempe, Arizona, built for Habitat for Humanity.
“This is the first-ever actual residence for a family permitted and built to code via 3D printing in North America.”
“This is the first-ever actual residence for a family permitted and built to code via 3D printing in North America,” says Mark Candelaria, founder and principal of Candelaria Design. “It’s pretty exciting, and it’s been pretty tough to keep this top secret for 18 months.
“I am a proud board member of Habitat for Humanity. When I learned about 3D printing, I wanted to be involved in this cutting-edge project, and we jumped right on board,” he says.
Jason Barlow, president and CEO of Habitat Central Arizona had the vision for the project—a custom, single-story home that creates an innovative model for the future,
This home is a scalable, cost-effective homeownership solution to address the affordable housing crisis facing communities nationwide.
“This is really a moonshot opportunity for Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona,” says Barlow. “When we consider the housing issues facing Arizona, the need for affordable homeownership solutions becomes clear. If we can deliver decent, affordable, energy-efficient homes at less cost, in less time and with less waste, we think that could be a real game-changer,” he says.
The home will be completed this fall, and potential income-qualified homeowners are being identified by Habitat.
The new home has three bedrooms and two baths in 1,738 square feet, and about four-fifths of the home is 3D printed. The remainder of the house is a traditional build to meet structural needs.
“We are so honored to be the first architectural firm in the United States to do this,” Candelaria says. His team worked with Germany-based PERI, who approached Habitat to get the innovation into the states.
“Our PERI 3D construction printing team is proud to print this home in Tempe for Habitat for Humanity,” said Thomas Imbacher of the PERI Group. “Since 2016, PERI has been working intensively on the development of 3D construction printing solutions for residential. In 2020, PERI realized the first ever 3D printed house in Germany with a BOD2 printer.
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“It’s one step at a time. I tell everyone that Thomas Edison’s first light bulb didn’t work. We have to keep testing, trying and learning.”
“It was really interesting to learn about the equipment. It’s a large steel frame with a driver to print the concrete. Just getting the equipment here was a thing in itself,” he says.
Damen Wake, project manager, has received accolades for his work. He designed a micro-dwelling years ago that informed his work here along with his research in affordable housing. He got the project over the goal line.
The current walls are concrete, but they aren’t load bearing. The team couldn’t get a structural system approved by the city because the code just isn’t caught up to the technology. They are using two parallel pours and filling the inside with insulation to get the needed R value and thermal break.
“Eventually, our goal is to get our printed concrete to be a fully integrated structural system,” says Candelaria.
Dominic Petrocelli, structural engineer from PH Structural, donated all his time. For this home, it’s steel posts and a timber frame system with trusses on top.
Candelaria Design wanted to show something modern and cutting-edge with an interesting roof that is a combination of some typical trusses and mono trusses. A mono truss flies in one direction, which creates the opportunity to design high clearstory windows in the great room to create volume and natural light.
“What’s going to be fun is the texture of the house; it looks like a layer cake. We are going to express that inside the house to be part of the daily experience of the house,” he says.
“It’s one step at a time. I tell everyone that Thomas Edison’s first light bulb didn’t work. We have to keep testing, trying and learning,” he says.
The team has had great collaboration with The City of Tempe’s approval entities who were brought on board at the very beginning. When it was time to submit plans, the city was up to speed.
“As an architect, I feel one of the things that makes a home a home is customization and personalization. What people need to remember about this technology is to keep the art in what is built. We wanted to show that a 3D home can be beautiful, creative and personalized. It doesn’t have to be an ugly box,” says Candelaria.
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“Habitat has proven to be an amazing place where anyone, no matter their skill level, can do work that makes an immediate impact on the challenge of homelessness.”
“There’s a lot of talk about what we are going to do next. Affordable housing is a big challenge, and we all need to be a part of the solution. We’ve been talking with Habit about ways to develop smaller, multi-family structures,” he says.
“Habitat has proven to be an amazing place where anyone, no matter their skill level, can do work that makes an immediate impact on the challenge of homelessness,” says Candelaria, who encourages everyone to do something. You can give here.
Co-Presenting Sponsors are Cox and Lowe’s, and many partners came together to make this happen—Habitat for Humanity International, City of Tempe, PERI, 3D Construction, Candelaria Design and The Ramsey Social Justice Foundation. Additional thanks to Encore Steel, XO Windows, HenWood Designs, PH Structural, Home Depot, YoungerBrothers Construction, Puckett’s Flooring, GEN-TECH, Moen Faucet, Sunstate Equipment, On Track, AMW, Mini Mobile, Desert Wind Drywall, Zurn Pex, Energy Inspectors, Gerber, Bay Alarm and Security, Hinkley Lighting and Allied Residential