World's First 3D Printed School

Construction expected to begin this summer in Madagascar and to cost half as much to build as traditional schools.

Thinking Huts, a nonprofit founded by a 15 year old, is on a mission to increase global access to education via 3D printing and plans to kick off construction of their first project in Madagascar this summer. This particular 15 year old Chinese immigrant, adopted as a baby by the founder of MapQuest, is using her adult-sized ambition to use 3D-printing to help more kids get an education in Madagascar.

Maggie Grout’s nonprofit is fundraising to break ground on a series of modular, honeycomb-shaped schools, powered by solar panels, which would be the world’s first 3D-printed schoolhouses.

Hundreds of millions of children don’t have schools to attend around the world, and Grout feels one of the best ways to solve the problem is by bringing down the construction costs of schoolhouses. The initial pilot Thinking Hut in Madagascar is expected to cost $20,000, and in a recent interview at the Smithsonian, Grout details how, as well as being half the cost of traditional construction methods, 3D-printed buildings become cheaper when the project is scaled - the more houses that are built, the cheaper they become.

Construction on the first school is expected to begin in the summer on the Fianarantsoa, home to about 200,000 people on the south end of the island.

Thinking Huts chose Madagascar because of its stability, growth potential and renewable energy opportunities, as well as connections to the local university in Fianarantsoa.