This 3D-Printed Building Runs on Energy From a 3D-Printed Car


Forget rough-hewn shacks in the middle of the wilderness, future shelters set up in the remote corners of the world will be 3D-printed. And they might be powered by a 3D-printed car, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

In collaboration with Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (the architecture firm behind One World Trade Center and the Burj Khalifa), the lab has spent the last year designing a 3D-printed building that can be powered by a 3D-printed vehicle. This cutting-edge off-the-grid shelter created as part of the Additive Manufacturing Integrated Energy project is designed to be cheap and super energy-efficient, with extreme insulation and solar panels on the roof to supplement vehicle-created power.

The 3D-printed car is essentially a giant, drivable generator, and it would theoretically transfer power to the shelter wirelessly using magnetic technology, kind of like a giant wireless phone charger

3D printed buildings would be a boon for the environment, since it’s possible to create entire structures without using any waste—there’s no wood to be cut, for example. And in terms of wilderness shacks, this one is looking pretty glamorous. The only downside? If you get in a fight with your spouse, he or she might drive away with all the electricity, leaving you sitting in a dark house in the middle of nowhere.

All images courtesy Oak Ridge National Laboratory / SOM