14Trees announces Africa’s largest 3D-printed affordable housing project

  • 52-house complex in Kenya delivers affordable and climate-resilient housing at scale
  • Innovative 3D printing builds more with less material in shorter time
  • Sustainable design certification for 3D-printed housing in regenerative ecosystem 

14Trees, a joint venture between Holcim and CDC Group, the UK’s development finance institution, announces Africa’s largest 3D-printed affordable housing project in Kenya. Building on 14Trees’ world-first 3D-printed school in Malawi, the Mvule Gardens housing complex is scaling up affordable housing in Kenya to be part of bridging the country’s infrastructure gap. 
This project was made possible by Holcim’s proprietary ink, TectorPrint, giving the walls structural function to bear the load of the building. This breakthrough will accelerate the scale-up of 3D printing for affordable housing. 

Jan Jenisch, CEO Holcim: “We are excited to be building one of the world’s largest 3D-printed affordable housing projects in Kenya. With today’s rapid urbanization, over three billion people are expected to need affordable housing by 2030. This issue is most acute in Africa, with countries like Kenya already facing an estimated shortage of two million houses. By deploying 3D printing, we can address this infrastructure gap at scale to increase living standards for all.”

Tenbite Ermias, CDC Africa Managing Director: “14Trees is pioneering the use of leading edge technology to address one of Africa’s most pressing development needs - affordable housing - to create life-changing infrastructure for whole communities.” 

The Mvule Gardens in Kilifi, Kenya, is one of the largest 3D-printed affordable housing projects in the world. It is part of the Green Heart of Kenya regenerative ecosystem, a model for inclusive and climate-resilient cities. Its advanced sustainability profile won an IFC-EDGE Advanced sustainable design certification, which recognizes resource-efficient and zero-carbon buildings. 

Holcim and CDC’s joint venture 14Trees is dedicated to addressing Africa’s shortage of affordable housing with 3D printing and smart design while creating skilled local jobs. As proven in Malawi, the technique can reduce the environmental footprint of a house by more than 50 compared to conventional methods, while the walls can be built at record speed in just 12 hours compared to almost four days with conventional building techniques. 

MASS Design Group, an American and African-based architecture practice, designed the Mvule Gardens to advance affordable, sustainable and replicable housing units adapted to Kenya’s environment.