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Cranbrook Alum Fernando Bales is Builder of Record on Detroit's 1st 3D-Printed Home

January 16th, 2024

Fernando Bales, build lab manager of Citizen Robotics, left, Evelyn Woodman, Citizen Robotics co-founder and communications director, and Lucas Aquirre, assistant manager of Citizen Robotics post in front of Michigan’s first 3D-printed house in Detroit on Monday, Sept. 25, 2023. Photo: Mandy Wright for the Detroit Free Press.

Fernando Bales (MArch Architecture ) is the build lab manager at nonprofit Citizen Robotics and the builder of record on the first 3D-printed home in Michigan. The home is currently on the market and just passed a new milestone, passing its final inspection.

The home was unveiled this past September during Detroit Month of Design and is located in Detroit’s Islandview neighborhood on a formerly empty lot. It is a 1,000-square-foot residence with two bedrooms and one bathroom. There are over 70,000 empty lots within the City of Detroit, and the home is presented as a possible solution to adding affordable housing stock to the city.

Citizen Robotics altered an automotive robotic arm from Chicago to execute the 3D concrete printing, which offers flexibility to easily create unique elements such as curvature or texture. The process also eliminates material waste compared to traditional building methods.

Of the process Bales told FOX 2 Detroit, “We’re still building with sticks – why is that? We think that there is a better, more efficient, more cost-effective way for the future of home building – and we just want to be a part of that.”


Learn more:

Detroit’s first 3D-printed home is about to hit the market – FOX 2 Detroit

Detroit’s First 3D-Printed Home Was Made by a Robot That Used to Build Cars – dwell

Michigan’s 1st 3D printed home is in Detroit – and almost complete – Detroit Free Press

Architecture at Cranbrook Academy of Art