Drury University and The Gathering Tree provide pioneering architectural education with 3D concrete printer for affordable housing solutions

Drury University > Newsroom > Newsroom Archives > Drury University and The Gathering Tree provide pioneering architectural education with 3D concrete printer for affordable housing solutions

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., December 1, 2023 – Thanks to a partnership with The Gathering Tree, Drury University is now providing architecture students with a unique opportunity to gain hands-on experience with a 3D concrete printer, becoming one of the few universities in the country to offer such an experience.

“This is leading edge technology. There are very few people in the country doing this and only about eight schools around the nation,” said Traci Sooter, Director of Drury University’s Design-Build Program and Professor of Architecture. “Our students are looking at pushing technology by finding innovative ways to reimagine 3D printed structures to create affordable housing solutions.”

The Gathering Tree owns the 35×50 foot machine, which is housed on Drury’s campus. Within the next 30-60 days, the technology will be used to construct 12 duplexes with 24 units for the new Eden Village 3 location at 2419 W. High St.

“One of our core values for The Gathering Tree and Eden Village is to change people’s perceptions of homelessness by housing people and putting them in a community,” said Nate Schlueter, Chief Visionary Officer for Eden Village. “When lives are destroyed and they don’t have a home, traditional construction takes a long time to get people off the streets. The 3D printers allow us to build a better product more affordably and rapidly.”

 3D concrete printed structures cost about a third less to build than traditional methods, can be constructed quickly with about 400 square feet printed in one day, have lower maintenance costs and are safer. Recent tests by Miller Engineering on sample walls for Eden Village 3 passed E5 tornado windspeeds at 250 miles an hour, which will allow the duplexes to double as tornado shelters. Once additional testing is complete, construction will begin at W. High St.

Sooter, who sits on the board for Eden Village, designed the duplexes and brings her work into the classroom at every opportunity. “Our students have worked on five other projects with The Gathering Tree, including a tiny home for Eden Village 1 that won a national design award, two campers and two sleeping shelters for the Revive 66 Campground.”

Next semester students will use the 3D printer to do a Design-Build project for The Gathering Tree.

“It’s been amazing working with Drury students to help us take homeless people and create good neighbors by providing permanent supportive housing,” said Schlueter. “It’s an unbelievable experience to work with the next generation and introduce them to homelessness in a healthy way.”

On December 4th at 1 p.m., members of the media are invited to see the 3D concrete printer and sample walls for Eden Village 3 as students conduct reviews of their final project in Drury’s Warehouse 3 (at Drury Lane and Bob Barker Blvd).

Video of the printer in use:


Media Contacts: Jasmine Cooper, Executive Director of University Communications and Media Relations, Office: (417) 873-7390, Email:

Nate Schlueter, Chief Visionary Officer, Eden Village, Phone: 417-894-3390, Email: