London-based practice Tactus Design Workshop has created The Rain Catcher, a home made of a 3D printed shell and raw earth materials. Immensely sustainable and self-sufficient, the design has a significantly reduced carbon footprint due to utilising on-site materials and preformed structures, possesses the ability to be easily altered, and uses a number of natural resources and makes the most of the surrounding climate.  

The home is divided into seven rooms, with the two main volumes dividing the floorplate into kitchen, bathroom and services, with the remaining spaces able to be customised by the owner. Given the flexibility of the design, it is not impossible to repurpose the house as a commercial space or a co-living precinct.  

In order to be entirely self-sufficient, the home is designed specifically to ensure heating, water and electricity is all off the grid. The roof’s structure fosters rainwater collection, with the practice calculating that the house could provide 95L a day for 6 occupants if rain levels are similar to the average across the UK. Heat pumps can be installed below or beside the house, with electricity provided by a standalone wind turbine. The practice indicates that the windows should be installed with transparent PV panels in front of the glass. 

With the curation of onsite materials needed to ensure the house’s carbon footprint remains minimal, the combination of clay-based earth and no-cement concrete is said to be ideal for the outer shell. Timber is required for the internal framing and floors, as well as OSB panels and plywood panels used for boarding and the roof structure. Recycled materials and/or natural fibres are to be utilised for insulation, with the roof potentially able to be covered in recycled plastic tiles to reduce carbon emissions.