An environment-friendly, sustainable home made from locally sourced raw earth using 3D printing technology could be a potential solution for addressing the shortage of affordable housing in the world today.

Italian architecture practice Mario Cucinella Architects (MC A) has collaborated with leading 3D printing specialists WASP to create a prototype for a 3D printed habitat. Named TECLA (from technology and clay), the eco-sustainable home is a new carbon-neutral circular housing model created entirely from recyclable materials sourced from the local terrain, and adaptable to any climate or context.

Designed by MC A and engineered by WASP, TECLA will be the first house to be completely 3D printed using locally sourced clay – a ‘km 0 material’, which will effectively make the building zero waste. Built using Crane WASP – the latest innovation in onsite 3D construction, TECLA represents a revolutionary development in the shift to eco-housing.

WASP completed the challenging printing phase of TECLA’s supporting structure, the first and unique fully 3D printed construction based on natural materials and made in Massa Lombarda (Ravenna, Italy) with multiple 3D printers operating at the same time. The double dome solution serves as the structure, roof and external cladding, enhancing the home’s performance while minimising resources and reducing construction time.

“Crane WASP is the world’s first modular and multilevel 3D printer designed to collaboratively build singular and even more extensive architectural works. The system is configured according to project needs and defines the structure of a safe and extremely efficient construction site. Each printer unit has a printing area of 50 square metres and therefore makes it possible to build independent living modules, of any shape, in a few days,” said WASP in a statement.

“For the first time in the world, two printing arms have been synchronised as part of a construction, thanks to software capable of optimising movements, avoiding collisions and ensuring simultaneous operation.”

A TECLA habitat involves 200 hours of printing, 7000 machine codes (G-code), 350 layers of 12mm, 150km of extrusion, and 60 cubic metres of natural materials for an average consumption of less than 6 kW.

“Together with WASP we aim at developing an innovative 3D-printed prototype for a habitat that responds to the increasingly urgent climate revolution and the needs of changes dictated by community needs. We need a paradigm shift in the field of architecture that gets closer to the needs of people, thus finding an answer for the ‘Earth’ within the ‘earth’. A collaboration that becomes the union between empathic architecture and the application of new technologies," said Mario Cucinella.

“From the shapeless earth to the earth as house shaped. Today we have the knowledge to build with no impact in a simple click,” said WASP founder Massimo Moretti.

The final installation of TECLA and its presentation are scheduled for Spring 2021.

Images: Cortesía de WASP