Lewis Grand Hotel teams with Andrey Rudenko to develop world's first 3D printed hotel

Over the past two years or so, a very exciting race has been ongoing in the construction world: Who can be the first to develop a commercially viable concrete 3D printer capable of making homes? And the competition has been very tough, as interesting and promising projects quickly began popping up all over the place. Just a few months ago, even Dubai stepped into the race with an ambitious plan, and just this week Italian manufacturers WASP announced the creation of the world’s largest Delta 3D printer with an eye on concrete construction. But today, another team has jumped to the head of the pack, as the innovation-minded Lewis Grand Hotel in the Philippines, owned by entrepreneur Lewis Yakich, has begun work on a massive 3D printed expansion of the hotel. What’s more, they are already planning to follow this up with a series of 3D printed commercial homes. Do we have a winner?

The Lewis Grand Hotel can be found on Don Juico Avenue, in Angeles City Pampanga and is a very fancy hotel that specifically caters to international tourists. A quick glance at their website, and you’ll quickly wish you could afford another vacation. It is owned and operated by a remarkable entrepreneur, as Lewis Yakich is something of a self-made success. Previously graduating in the material sciences from the University of California Santa Barbara, the Californian previously worked for as an engineer at Intel before switching to his passion in real estate. Finding a lot of success in building houses in the US before switching his sights to the Philippines.

And that he has an eye for the innovative, the profitable and the unusual, is definitely proven by his decision to 3D print this new extension to his hotel, rather than using the conventional construction methods of his competitors. To ensure success, he also enlisted the help of a man probably known by most of our readers. You might remember Andrey Rudenko from a very remarkable project unveiled during the summer of 2014: a gorgeous and inspiring 3D printed concrete fantasy castle in Minnesota, for which Rudenko pioneered his own concrete 3D printing method.

With his help, Yakich began planning the creation of this 3D printed headline magnet, though as Rudenko explains to 3ders.org, this took some time to plan. ‘It took several months to prepare the major parts in Minnesota and bring them to the Philippines, [where we] assembled the 3D printer and developed and tested the right mix using local materials,’ he tells us.

Fortunately, they found that the Philippines is home to some very good materials for 3D printing. ‘We have here specific sand with volcanic ash that is hard to extrude but we have great result, with pretty strong walls with good bonding between the layers,’ Rudenko explains to us. ‘Yes, it took some time like several months to set up everything but now we are able to print a medium size house here in about a week using local cheap sand including plumbing and wiring.’

This pioneering construction is actually a separate villa that will be fully incorporated into the Lewis Grand Hotel. As Rudenko explains, the size of the house is approximately 10.5 by 12.5 meters and 3 meters tall. ‘Its 130m2 or about 1500 square feet,’ he adds. And this isn’t just an ordinary extension, but is set to be a fantastic party house. ‘This is a first 3D printed hotel in the world, complete with a 3D printed extra large Jacuzzi. To be exact, it will be a party house as part of an addition to hotel. The house has several couple bedrooms with hot tubs, and a living room with Jacuzzi,’ the inventive creator proudly tells us.

What’s more, 3D printing itself was quite successful. For as Rudenko explains, the Philippines has an ideal, all-year-round warm climate that is perfect for 3D printing concrete in large portions. ‘Printing such houses is fairly cheap in terms of materials and labor, but it’s still very expensive to set up a production plant in a different country and everything to start assemble printers,’ he adds. 3D printing itself took approximately 100 hours, though that doesn’t include a large number of stops to install plumbing, wiring and rebars in the concrete creation. While the manufacturing process could thus become streamlined, its already very promising indeed. And much cheaper too, with estimates suggesting that up to 60 percent of costs could be saved in the near future.

This initial success of the Rudenko/Yakich collaboration has already wetted the appetite of Yakich for a series of follow-up 3D printing project. In particular, the next focus will be on commercial homes and on the construction industry itself. As Rudenko revealed, they are even working on creating a commercial assembly plant in the Philippines that manufactures and markets concrete 3D printers in the near future.
For now, however, the main focus is on the development of homes, as a method for streamlining the technology and helping a lot of people. The Philippines, after all, is a country filled with poverty and slums, so 200 low-income homes are now on the agenda (planning to start in November), as well as an additional 20 villas comparable to this one. ‘This is a model home to have a proof of abilities of concrete printing technology/machine. This house is a printed in place/on lot printed as one solid object,’ Rudenko says. With any luck, this will be followed up by more series of low-income homes for the Filipino people. Should they succeed, we can definitely name a winner in this 3D printing race.