THE 3d printed campus

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Overcoming Educational Barriers in Toliara, Madagascar:

One in Three Adults Unable to Read or Write, Half Not Completing Primary School

Explore The Challenge

Literacy Rates: Imagine a small town where every third person you meet can't read or write. That's the reality in Toliara, where about 33% of adults are illiterate. The situation is even tougher for women; nearly 2 out of every 5 adult women in Toliara can't read or write.

Educational Attainment: Only about half of the adults (around 49% of women and 51% of men) have completed at least primary school. To put this into perspective, that's like having half the population of Seattle not making it past elementary school. Moreover, fewer than 1 in 14 women have made it through high school.

School Enrollment and Infrastructure: Imagine a single school serving an entire neighborhood or multiple neighborhoods in a large city. That’s often the case in rural Toliara, where access to education is as sparse as a desert oasis.

School Day Length: Children in Toliara start their school day early in the morning and return late in the evening, similar to someone from New York commuting daily to Philadelphia for work. The lack of resources means that their learning relies heavily on memorization, akin to trying to learn a language using only a phrasebook and no practice conversations.

Government Spending: The government spends about 2% of its GDP on education, which is lower than the average spending on pets annually in the U.S. Furthermore, the share of the government budget allocated to education dropped to about 14% in 2013, which is like a large corporation deciding to cut its research and development budget when innovation is needed most.

MISSION: Our mission is to use 3D printing technology to build sustainable and resilient educational campuses, providing quality learning environments while teaching local communities the skills needed for 3D printing and construction. By empowering individuals with both education and technology, we aim to foster self-sufficiency and long-term growth in underserved regions.

VISION: Our vision is to create a world where every child has access to high-quality education in innovative, durable, and eco-friendly schools. By combining advanced technology with local empowerment, we aim to bridge educational gaps, inspire lifelong learning, and build stronger, self-reliant communities globally.


Addressing the widespread lack of comprehensive educational facilities that can support large student populations in underserved regions.


How large-scale 3D printed campuses can provide sustainable, rapid, and community-driven educational solutions to meet the growing demand for quality education.

The Journey Begins

From Models To Realiy

The Design Unveiled

Optimized Modular 3D Printing in Madagascar

Modular Design Implementation:
To streamline the construction process in Madagascar, modular design principles were applied, reducing the project complexity by breaking down the building into repeatable sections or modules. This approach significantly reduced material waste and allowed for faster assembly, making the construction process more efficient and cost-effective.

Grasshopper Optimization:
Using Grasshopper, a visual programming language integrated with Rhino, the design process was optimized by running simulations to find the most efficient and cost-effective solutions. This resulted in narrowing down the construction to three optimized wall types, ensuring structural integrity and aesthetic appeal while minimizing costs and material usage.

Simplification of Wall Types:
By reducing the design to just three wall types, the manufacturing and construction process was greatly simplified. This reduction in variety not only minimized the range of materials needed but also expedited the construction timeline. The focus on fewer wall types allowed workers to become proficient with each, improving the overall quality and efficiency of the construction.

3D Printing of Walls:
Large-scale 3D printers were employed to create the wall modules, allowing for precise, repeatable, and rapid construction. This method minimized material waste by using the exact amount needed for each wall and enabled the creation of complex structures that traditional methods could not achieve. 3D printing technology also reduced labor costs and accelerated the construction process.

Local Workforce Training:
Training the local workforce in Madagascar on Grasshopper and 3D printing technology empowered them with new, valuable skills. This involvement fostered a sense of ownership and investment in the project, ensuring its sustainability. The skills gained through this training can be applied to future projects, contributing to ongoing economic and technological development in the region.

Bringing The Design To Life

Innovative Wall Construction Framework:
In the process above, designers reimagined the details for wall construction by eliminating the need to construct columns first. Instead, the 3D-printed walls served as the framework for the columns. This innovative approach streamlined the construction process and enhanced the structural integrity of the building.

Incorporating Error Margins:
The design incorporated error margins for doors and windows, ensuring precise placements and reducing the risk of construction errors. These details were integrated into the 3D printing process, allowing for seamless assembly and improving the overall quality of the construction.

Detailed Beam and Roof Connections:
The 3D-printed walls included specific details for beams to rest on top, ensuring robust connections and structural stability. Additionally, the design provided clear guidelines for how the roof should be attached, further simplifying the construction process and enhancing the durability of the building.

Integration of Electrical and Other Systems:
The innovative wall design also accounted for the integration of electrical systems and other essential components. By incorporating these elements into the initial design, the construction process became more efficient, and the final building was more functional and ready for immediate use.

Rethinking Wall Design for Optimization:
This approach to wall design optimized all necessary connections, making the construction process more innovative and efficient. By focusing on how one wall could serve multiple functions, the design team was able to create a more cohesive and effective building solution. This holistic rethinking of wall construction set a new standard for building design and construction in Madagascar.

Building a Greener & Better Future in Madagascar

Waste Reduction and Material Savings:
The innovative approach of using 3D-printed walls without constructing columns first results in significantly less waste. By optimizing the wall design and integrating all necessary components within the walls, material usage is minimized. This efficiency translates into substantial savings, as fewer materials are required for construction. Additionally, for every four walls constructed, the savings are so significant that the material costs for an additional wall are effectively covered, making it possible to build one free wall for every four constructed.

Economies of Scale:
Expanding this principle to larger projects, for every four campuses built, the material savings and efficiency gains enable the construction of an additional campus at no extra cost. This model not only reduces overall expenses but also maximizes the impact of the project by providing more educational facilities within the same budget.

Sustainable Energy Solutions:
The project incorporates solar energy to power the 3D printers and water pumps. By utilizing solar panels, the energy required for construction is derived from renewable sources, reducing reliance on non-renewable energy and lowering the carbon footprint. This sustainable energy solution ensures that the construction process is environmentally friendly and cost-effective.

Holistic Sustainability:
This approach makes the project truly sustainable by addressing multiple aspects of sustainability. The reduced material waste, energy-efficient construction, and use of renewable energy sources all contribute to a lower environmental impact. Additionally, integrating water pumps powered by solar energy ensures that water usage is efficient and sustainable, further enhancing the project's overall sustainability.

Educational Impact:
The project not only focuses on sustainable construction practices but also on educating students and the local workforce about these methods. By training individuals in Madagascar on sustainable building techniques and the use of advanced technologies like Grasshopper and 3D printing, the project fosters a culture of sustainability. This education empowers the community with the knowledge and skills to continue building sustainably in the future, creating a lasting positive impact on both the environment and the local economy.


In Collaboration With:
defining HUMANITY -
Architectural Design and Engineering
SECOA - Civil Engineer and Local Construction Team
Thinking Huts
Heidelberg Materials


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