Kenya: 14Trees Completes Ten 3D Printed Houses In 10 Weeks

The project is the world's largest with 3D printing construction, and part of a larger plan for 52 houses.

By Chriselle Moraes on
9th March 2023

The Mvule Gardens Project, a 3D printing construction project in Kilifi, Kenya, which started in October 2022, has printed the walls of 10 houses using a single BOD2 printer from COBOD.

The printing of the 10 houses was completed in 10 weeks, averaging one house per week.

The Mvule Gardens project is being developed by 14Trees, a joint venture company between building materials company, Holcim, and British International Investment, the UK government's impact investor.

The14Trees joint venture is behind the first 3D printed houses in Africa and the first 3D printed schools in the world, and the company states that they are dedicated to accelerating the provision of affordable housing in Africa.

MASS Design Group, a US and Africa-based architecture practice, designed Mvule Gardens with the aim of advancing affordable, sustainable and replicable housing units adapted to Kenya’s environment. 'MASS' is an acronym for ‘Model of Architecture Serving Society’.

Other projects undertaken by MASS Design Group in Africa include the 'Maternity Waiting Village' in Malawi, the African Leadership University in Rwanda, and the African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases in Nigeria.

14Trees announced the launch of the Mvule Gardens project in Kenya in December 2021, with construction beginning in October 2022.

The project is part of a larger plan to print up to 52 affordable houses in Kilifi. The World Bank's development finance institution, IFC, also awarded the project an EDGE Advanced sustainable design certification which recognises resource-efficient buildings with zero-carbon potential.

"With 3D printing, you can solve two problems at once. You can build faster like we have shown here with our ten houses in 10 weeks. At the same time, we can achieve better cost efficiency, which will help make affordable housing a reality for the majority. In addition, you can build with fewer materials, which preserves the resources of the planet for future generations," said Francois Perrot, Managing Director of 14Trees.

A major innovation on the Mvule Gardens project is the use of 3D printed concrete as the load-bearing structure in their buildings, which is a major breakthrough in 3D concrete printing. By utilizing a cavity-wall type construction the need for reinforced concrete or a steel frame was eliminated. The typical steel roof with timber was also replaced, significantly lowering carbon emissions. Large roof overhangs were designed in the front and back of the buildings to provide shade and comfortable indoor temperatures, even on very hot days.

14Trees plans to innovate further and develop the project. Subsequent phases will also include 10-15 houses each, and tenants will customize the design of their homes as opposed to standardised 3D-printed homes.

14Trees also aims to achieve a 20% drop in construction costs on subsequent phases, compared to standard housing costs. TectorPrint, Holcim's locally made proprietary 3D printing material, has significantly reduced costs.

"Considering how difficult the conditions are in Africa, it is impressive that 14Trees has printed more houses on a single site than any other construction 3D printing company in the US or elsewhere. In addition, they have done it faster, using just a single COBOD 3D printer, not by using five printers or more," said Philip Lund-Nielsen, Head of COBOD Americas.

Top Photo: 3-bedroom houses in Mvule Gardens (

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