Italian architecture studio Mario Cucinella Architects has partnered with WASP, Italy’s experts in 3D printing, to construct its recent project, TECLA, experimental 3D-printed houses made of raw earth.

Developed as a prototype, built in Massa Lombarda (Ravenna, Italy), the houses are being printed in 200 hours by a network of 3D printers operating simultaneously.

The TECLA project was created through detailed research completed by the SOS School of Sustainability – a professional school founded by Mario Cucinella that blends education, research and practice.

Taking its moniker from Technology and Clay, this project, which involved the new system entitled Crane WASP, the WASP Maker Economy Starter Kit included numerous 3D printers, for the first time globally, dual printing arms have been synchronized as components of a construction project and the software were capable of optimising movements, avoiding collisions and guaranteeing synchronised operation.

TECLA is comprised of dual domes compenetrating one other and hosting a residential open-space area and a bedroom that comes complete with a small toilet.

On the exterior, a tiny lake collects waste and rain waters to be recycled for the garden, while another cell, offering solar and thermal panels, supplies clean energy to the structure, thus morphing it into a potential off-grid house.

With this new system and production speed, TECLA houses become a circular model of housing comprised of reusable and recyclable materials, sourced from regional soil, carbon-neutral and adaptable to any climate and context.

Mario Cucinella, founder of Mario Cucinella Architects, said that his company has partnered with WASP to develop an inventive 3D-printed prototype for a habitat in line with the climate revolution—one that represents the marriage of empathic architecture and the use of fresh new technologies.

Cucinella points out that a UN report published in 2017 reflects the current worldwide population of 7.6 billion people is anticipated to reach 11.2 billion in 2100, and in 2030 nearly 5 billion people are supposed to reside in cities, said Mario Cucinella Architects.

As a result, governments are confronted with significant challenges related to housing solutions. With more rural regions incorporated into communities, it is the concept of the city that should be challenged, the company stated.

TECLA will be the premiere home to be 3D printed with the use of locally sourced clay – a biodegradable and recyclable ‘km 0 natural’ material which will render the building zero-waste.

It will be constructed to fit multiple environments, and will be suited for self-production through the usage of WASP’s inventive technology.

By utilising this fresh building system, it places a limit on industrial waste and provides a one of a kind sustainable model that will promote the national and local economy, enhancing the wellbeing of cities. As the team explains, the plan will substantially quicken the building process as the 3D printer will create the whole structure at once.

Today builders have the knowledge to construct without impact and with a simple click, stated Massimo Moretti, WASP Founder, adding that technology is now a human service.

Mario Cucinella, Founder of Mario Cucinella Architects and SOS – School of Sustainability, notes that the building of the structure is a milestone signifying the viability of TECLA as a response to current and future living needs.

The administrators of WASP said that the WASP proprietary software employed for TECLA is the synthesis of years of research that have inspired the computerization of shapeless matter, managing to constrict the imaginable.

The project encompassed 200 hours of printing, 7000 machine codes (G-code), 350 layers of 12 mm, 150 km of extrusion, 60 cubic meters of natural materials for a median consumption of less than 6 kW.

Drawing inspiration from potter wasp, since 2012 WASP (World’s Advanced Saving Project) has evolved into a credible construction model that revolves around the concept of circular economy and digital fabrication.

The model was deemed TECLA as inspired by a fictional city explained by Italo Calvino in The Invisible Cities as a ‘continuous urban evolution’. The model represents both companies’ efforts to combine technical innovation with a reverence for the environment, and a comprehension of natural cycles.

TECLA got planning approval in May 2019, printing commenced in September 2019, and finalised installation and presentation of TECLA are scheduled for Spring 2021.

Launching with the initial prototype at WASP headquarters in Massa Lombarda, the project’s objective is to advance towards cities of smart houses across the globe.

Mario Cucinella emphasises that we must build in a way that respects the climate and environment—cutting down on pollution and carbon emissions and evolving toward an ultimate model of Green Architecture, a balanced mixture of technological innovation and environmental empathy.

Source: World Architecture Org