Mario Cucinella Architects and WASP, Italian 3D printing specialists, have started building on TECLA — an actual prototype for a 3D-printed habitat. Under development in the vicinity of Bologna, Italy, the project addresses timely society concerns like widescale population increases and too few economical accommodations. Generated with the use of reusable, recyclable materials borrowed from the regional terrain, TECLA is a novel circular housing model created to promote ecofriendly housing.

Designed by Mario Cucinella Architects and engineered and constructed by WASP, TECLA will be the first residence to be 3D-printed with regionally sourced clay — a biodegradable and recyclable material that will render the structure zero-waste. Constructed with the use of Crane WASP, TECLA — entitled in honour of a fictional city described by author Italo Calvino — will be the premiere habitat to be constructed with the use of multiple collaborative 3D-printers, providing a wider scope of scale than previously.

Intended to adapt to various environments, the habitat will be suited for self-production through WASP’s ‘maker economy starter kit’. This method should restrict the amount of industrial waste produced and present a sustainable model intended to elevate national and local economies — thus enhancing the well-being of cities. And, employed in the context of a broader plan, TECLA could form the literal foundations for new and sustainable eco-cities.

The design was cultivated by way of research conducted by the SOS — School of Sustainability — an institution formed by Mario Cucinella. The research, supported by students from London’s Architectural Association School of Architecture, explored the area problem of homelessness, based on case studies in locales with varying climates. The result is a model designed to be climate- and energy-efficient. TECLA started printing in September, and should be completed in early 2020.