Gananoque to have Canada’s first and largest 3D printed neighbourhood

The Town of Gananoque approved building Canada’s first and largest 3D printed neighbourhood, using robots and automation as a pioneering technology in constructing a multi-storey building. 

Graphic from the Marco Polo 100 Digital Build Challenge, which has resulted in Horizon Legacy’s 3D build project in Gananoque, the largest of its kind in the country. Graphic via Horizon Legacy website.

The project is part of the Marco Polo 100 Digital Build Challenge, the biggest construction technology innovation project in North America. Horizon Legacy, the project owner and applicant, created the challenge as an international competition to develop multi-residential buildings for $100 per square foot (this does not include lands or services, only the building itself). The winners were shortlisted in August 2021, and the Town issued site plan approval on Wednesday, Mar. 2, 2022, for six buildings, with four buildings to be constructed in the first phase. 

During the first and second stages of the challenge in 2021, each team involved worked with Horizon Legacy, as well as local architects and engineers, to complete their designs and engineering, and submitted a Building Permit application. 

Currently the project is in stage three, where Horizon Legacy is working with teams worldwide. The winner teams are Scoolpt (Czech Republic), O-Cube (Canada), CyBe (Netherlands) , Hivetat (USA), Imprimerie (Switzerland), and UBB (Chile).

According to the project document for the challenge, each building is approximately 1,400 sq feet with one bachelor, one one-bedroom, and one two-bedroom apartment. The neighbourhood will be owned by Horizon Legacy and made available as rental apartments. Upon completion there will be up to 18 apartments, 30% of which will be made available for affordable housing. The affordable housing units are being developed at no cost to the municipality.  

In addition to the technological and design aspects, the neighbourhood reaches a new level in building sustainability. All buildings will use green energy for heating, cooling, and lighting, the majority of which will be powered by on-site renewable energy.

“As a municipality, this project is beneficial for Gananoque, the region, and beyond,” said Brenda Guy, Manager of Planning and Development for the Town of Gananoque. “All communities in Ontario… have been struggling with affordable housing in the last number of years, particularly now with the increases that we have seen in the housing markets in the last two years. The new technology being introduced and how we do construction brings new ideas for housing solutions, [while still] meeting [building code] requirements.”

The site of the project is 425 Fourth Street.

To have a site in the town where new construction technology is being introduced and implemented is exciting and will draw attention to Gananoque as the project evolves, those with Horizon Legacy suggested.

“The project puts Gananoque on the national map and the world stage for hosting the first 3D printed neighbourhood in Canada,” said Nhung Nguyen, Vice-President of Development for Horizon Legacy.

“Local expertise is being developed in construction technology. We expect the activity will stimulate (and has already stimulated) more awareness and growth in the region, further accelerating development of more construction technology innovation to solve the problem of affordable housing,” she added. 

After the construction of the Small Building, most likely in December of 2022, the winning team’s design will be used to build the Big Building, a 12-storey multi-residential building in stage four of the whole project. 

Judges will select the winning team based on its cost and time-effective design in compliance with Ontario Building Code, constructability, scalability, aesthetics, livability, sustainability, operating costs, durability, and creativity. 

The winning team will also receive technical, financial, and business support of: up to $10,000,000 of investments, a $200,000 cash prize, royalty fees of $20/sq metre ($1.86/sq ft) (royalties received after the Challenge), and and intellectual property maintenance fee of $250,000.

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