The Siksika Nation is using 3D printing technology to build housing for nation members fleeing domestic violence or otherwise at risk of homelessness.
The project, named Kakatoosoyiists, which translates to Star Lodges due to the significance of starts in Siksika culture, will be 16 one-bedroom units built across four buildings on the nation about 100 kilometres east of Calgary.
“The reason is, according to our creation stories, the stars provide guidance, sense of direction, protection and life lessons,” said Siksika Knowledge Keeper Eldon Weasel Child.
“These are some of the good intentions we have for the future tenants of the homes.”
The design team says the project is the first 3D concrete-printed housing initiative in Alberta and the largest in the country.
External walls are being 3D printed with concrete, using a four-foot tall robotic arm used to pour the substance.
The building’s roof design will pay tribute to teepee poles and elements on the roof will be painted by Nation members.
“This is a big experiment,” said University of Calgary architecture professor Mauricio Soto-Rubio.
“There’s still a variety of ongoing questions.”
Soto-Rubio said 3D printing technology allows for faster and more efficient construction, with less exposure to potential human error.
Fewer workers are required for building projects and less material goes to waste, he said.
“A regular house built with regular construction materials and systems can take several months to be built. A 3D-printed house can take weeks,” said Soto-Rubio.
The Siksika Nation partnered with Ontario-based construction company nidus3D and the University of Calgary for the design and build.
Placements in the 16 units will be determined by Siksika’s service network based on need, according to Siksika housing manager Ryan Hall.
Hall said the nation is in the midst of a “severe housing crisis,” and hopes the new technology will help the nation add inventory amid a construction labour crunch, which, similar to Canada’s housing stress, is particularly acute for First Nations.
“You can take your national problem and multiply it by 10, and then that’s what we deal with,” said Hall.
In a CIBC report released earlier this year, deputy chief economist Benjamin Tal said Canada’s construction industry was struggling to recruit new workers to fill a gap of more than 50,000 vacancies.
Hall also pointed to climate resiliency as another major selling point of 3D-printed housing.
“We get a lot of high winds out here. We get a lot of issues with mould inside homes,” he said. “A concrete structure helps with all of that … it’ll last longer.”
The Assembly of First Nations said last year there was a need for $44 billion to address current on-reserve housing needs.
Soto-Rubio did acknowledge that 3D printing technology for housing is still in development and can malfunction.
Crews have dealt with delays while working on the first building in the complex, possibly caused by weather conditions.
“This technology is not necessarily built to operate under freezing conditions,” he said, adding that 3D printing concrete releases large amounts of CO2 emissions.
The project will cost a total of $2.6 million with all of the funding coming from Indigenous Services Canada.
Construction is expected to be finished by March 31, 2024.
View original article here Source