Bouygues Construction

3D printing: a house soon-to-be constructed in Nantes!

A first for France. In September, social housing in Nantes will be built using an industrial 3D printer.


With a floor area of 95 sq. m, the YHNOVA™ will have five rooms, curved walls, corners and openings of varying sizes. This house, designed by the architecture firm TICA, will be an amalgamation of complex architectural forms built using Batiprint3D™, a revolutionary robotic additive manufacturing technology, patented by the University of Nantes.

This cutting-edge technology is the fruit of interdisciplinary work between research teams from the Nantes Digital Sciences Laboratory (University of Nantes, CNRS, Ecole Centrale, Inria, IMT Atlantique) and the Research Institute of Civil Engineering and Mechanics (University of Nantes, CNRS, Ecole Centrale). The technology has the ability to deposit three layers of material using a polyarticulated industrial robot. Two layers of expanding foam are used as formwork for the third layer of concrete. Once the walls have gone up, the foam remains in place, serving as a double layer of insulation without creating a thermal break. The robot’s path is guided directly on the slab by a laser sensor, using the digital modelling of the house.

Financial and environmental benefits

This process reduces the build time and ensures high-quality insulation. Using a mobile robot will enable the construction industry to rethink working methods in order to improve working conditions and limit the number of hazardous jobs or roles that cause MSD (musculoskeletal disorders). This will also help to strengthen the attractiveness of Building and Civil Works careers.

Experimenting with the building techniques of tomorrow

This project is part of the structural works “Gros-Œuvre 4.0” R&D programme led by Bouygues Construction and involves identifying, updating and implementing the structural works techniques of the future. The digital transition, robotics and prefabrication open up a new field for experimentation and rethinking the way that buildings are delivered.

Bouygues Construction is supporting this project by providing expertise and logistics. “The aim is to prove that housing can be built to the highest quality standards, for all trades, but using different methods. This is an initial step that will enable us to learn a huge amount in terms of creating the construction methods of the future.” says Bruno Linéatte, R&D Director at Bouygues Construction and responsible for construction methods.

This experiment will start in Nantes in September. Bouygues Bâtiment Grand Ouest will act as general contractor to construct the demonstrator housing for the social housing provider Nantes Métropole Habitat.

More details will follow in September!

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