• Building hope

    Building hope

    The world’s first 3D-printed school has opened its doors in Malawi.

    The school was built in the Yambe zone of Salima district in the central region through 14Trees, a joint venture between UK-based finance institution CDC Group and building-materials manufacturer LafargeHolcim. According to CDC Group, construction of the walls took just 18 hours.

    The walls were created using LafargeHolcim’s proprietary ink, which reduces the environmental footprint by more than half compared to conventional construction methods and materials.

    The new building brings the total number of schools in the Yambe zone to 13. Primary education advisor Juliana Kuphanga Chikandila says the district needs more than 50 schools in order to meet educational needs. ‘ I am very impressed by the new building – its durability and design provide the space and facilities that students did not have before; teaching and learning can now happen inside and outside the classroom.’

    Unicef estimates a shortage of 36 000 classrooms in Malawi alone, representing 70 years of construction using conventional methods, whereas 14Trees says 3D printing could accomplish the job in 10 years.

    6 July 2021
    Image: CDC Group