This Italian company built the world’s first eco-sustainable 3D-printed house made from local raw earth materials

WASP (World’s Advanced Saving Project), an Italian 3D-printing company founded in 2012, has finished the construction of its eco-sustainable housing model entirely made from locally-sourced, raw earth materials.

The 3D-printed structure was named TECLA (Technology + Clay) in Massa Lombarda, Northern Italy. It is the first such structure in the world.

The project takes inspiration from the 1972 Italian novel “Invisible Cities” by Italo Calvino, whose story includes a city in a never-ending state of construction.

3d printed machine creating a home made from earth materials

TECLA aims to honor mankind’s timeless connection to their dwellings and unite those foundational themes with 21st-century modernities.

It also aims to recognize the growing global climate crisis and the need for efficient, sustainable construction systems that can be used in the aftermath natural disasters or emergency situations.

If TECLA becomes a standard in the construction industry, it will be able to provide safe housing for displaced people.

The inside of a 3d printed home - ceiling

“We like to think that TECLA is the beginning of a new story,” said Mario Cucinella, the Founder and Creative Director of Mario Cucinella Architects, which designed the unique habitat.

“It would be truly extraordinary to shape the future by transforming this ancient material with the technologies we have available today,” he said. “The aesthetics of this house are the result of a technical and material effort; it was not an aesthetic approach only. It is an honest form, a sincere form.”

TECLA proves that it’s possible to build a house with a low to zero carbon footprint. The structure is built entirely from locally-obtained earth materials, helping to eliminate waste and other scraps.

The inside of a 3d printed home - dining area

The 646-square-foot prototype structure was constructed by mixing regional soil with water and other special additives. After analyzing the terrain samples, engineers proceeded to the printing phase.

A pair of synchronized printer arms called the Crane WASP systems then worked away simultaneously, picking, mixing and pumping materials into layers. The use of giant printers eliminated the need to scaffold.

Each printer can print an area up to 538 sq.ft. This means that one TECLA module can easily be completed in 200 hours, with an average energy consumption of 6 kW.

The inside of a 3d printed home - bedroom

The first TECLA home is made up of two circular structures that have been merged together. It features an open living area with a kitchen, a bedroom nook and a small bathroom.

It also included 3D printed tables and chairs. The interior furnishings are already created so that occupants can move in quickly.

The module’s two zones are equipped with a dome-shaped skylight, which allows natural light to flood in when the sun shines. It also provides a spectacular view of the stars at night.

Each TECLA dome is equipped with ventilation, thermoinsulation, and water collection. Since the walls provide insulation, there is no need to install heating or air conditioning.

A sample 3d printed machine home

“TECLA shows that a beautiful, healthy, and sustainable home can be built by a machine, giving the essential information to the local raw material,” said WASP Founder Massimo Moretti.

“TECLA is the finger that points to the Moon. Everybody on the planet has a birthright to the Moon, and it is their home. From TECLA on, that’s getting possible.”

It is made from earth so it can be built almost anywhere with local soil. The 3D printers are able to create various forms that can adapt to the geographic location and the climate conditions in which the structure will be built.

“If I design a building in a hot, arid climate, I need to protect the building well and make thicker walls to ventilate it,” Cucinella explained.

Kirsten Dirksen, a YouTuber who produces videos about simple living, tiny homes, alternative transport, and more, visited the WASP site to learn more about the company’s 3D-printed eco-homes.

See more of Kirsten Dirksen’s videos on her YouTube.