The project

Omlab introduces 3D printed swallow’s nests that last a few years: prefab starter homes for house and barn swallows, made using circular and bio-based raw materials. Without (wood)concrete, glue or nails, so that no waste ends up in the natural environment. The goal is self-construction: the swallow is a true do-it-yourselfer if people don’t get in the way. These temporary nests are intended to be used in areas that have undergone largescale development or where nature-inclusive management is just getting started. At a certain point, the swallows will find sources of food and water the area. The birds then mix their own mortar for the construction of the next nest, in bio-plastic housing for example. Meanwhile, the calcium-rich starter homes break down and enrich the soil.

Expert panel

Humans disturb the swallow’s natural habitat. Omlab gives these birds a helping hand in places where there is not (yet) enough space for an ecosystem to take shape. Omlab’s nature-friendly starter homes for swallows stimulate nature inclusivity among project developers and other (building) site managers. When the natural surroundings have sufficiently recovered, the product becomes superfluous. 3D printing with this kind of material is not without its challenges. Omlab shares its expertise of this smart development process, which activates other designers to start using the same production method. The starter homes for swallows thus also become the starting point for larger projects using this material. Their knowledge and the light-heartedness of this project are contagious.

— “Omlab’s expertise – the result of long and thorough research – and the light-heartedness of these nature-friendly starter homes for swallows are contagious.”

Want to stay informed? Sign up for our newsletter