14Trees, a LafargeHolcim joint venture with CDC Group, is using a BOD2 3D printer from COBOD to build affordable and low-carbon housing and schools in Africa. The initiative, which is kicking off in Malawi, is part of a larger effort to support the UN’s sustainable development goals.



3D printed buildings are popping up in more and more places, like the recent 3 floors apartment building in Germany but so far Africa has been only marginally on the map. 14Trees are about to change that. Established by LafargeHolcim, a world-leading provider of cement and concrete with 70,000 employees, 14Trees is focused on building affordable houses, schools and social infrastructures in Africa.

Born with the aim to accelerate the production and commercialization of environmentally-friendly, affordable construction solutions in Africa, its approach now includes 3D printing. 14Trees benefits from the support and expertise of LafargeHolcim’s R&D center, one of the leading building materials research centers in the world, to accelerate the use of environmentally friendly solutions such as 3D printing.

“I am very excited about the work of our joint venture 14Trees,” said Miljan Gutovic, Region Head Middle East Africa and LafargeHolcim Executive Committee member, “innovating in 3D printing technology to accelerate affordable and sustainable building, from homes to schools. This is a great example of our commitment to build for people and the planet. Starting in Malawi, we will deploy this technology across the broader region with projects already in the pipeline in Kenya and Zimbabwe.

Like the previously mentioned project in Germany and previously yet in Denmark, the construction 3D printing technology for 14Trees is provided by COBOD. For the projects in Malawi 14Trees chose a BOD2 printer from COBOD. The BOD2 3D construction printer is modular and consists of a number of modules of 2.5 m in each direction. 14Trees decided for a BOD2 model 4-4-2 (w*l*h) measuring 10*10*5 meters and with a print area of 9.6*9.6*3.1 meters. The speed of the BOD2 is up to 100 cm/second, equivalent to an output of almost 10 tons per hour. Two operators of the printers are required. COBOD provided training in Malawi to locals that 3D printed the buildings.