Contour crafting is a term thats been given to a process very similar process to 3D printing but for construction of housing. The process under development by Behrokh Khoshnevis of the University of Southern California’s Information Sciences Institute uses a CNC gantry to build…um….buildings. And it does so very quickly without manual labor. Originally conceived as a method to construct molds for industrial parts, Khoshnevis decided to adapt the technology for rapid home construction as a way to rebuild after natural disasters.
The huge advantage (literally) of 3D-printing a house is that you no longer need confined to to rectilinear construction methods. Our houses and apartment buildings are largely right angles because they’re made out of dimensional lumber, beams, bricks, cinder blocks, I-beams, etc etc; but as Khoshnevis points out in his TED talk, below, with 3D printing you are no longer limited by conventional geometry and can take advantage of complex—and beautiful—geometry which can be built in a fraction of the time, 20 hours for an average house.
More information on Contour Crafting can be found here http://www.contourcrafting.org/