WASP (Worldwide Advanced Savings Project), an Italian 3D printing company founded in 2012, has completed the construction of its ecologically sustainable housing model made entirely from locally sourced raw floor materials.
The 3D-printed structure, nicknamed TECLA (Technology + Clay), is a world first.
The project is inspired by the 1972 Italian novel “Invisible Cities” by Italo Calvino, whose story involves a city in a state of construction that never ends.
TECLA aims to honor humanity’s timeless connection to their dwellings and unify those foundational themes with 21st century modernity.
It also hopes to recognize the deepening global crisis of climate change and the need for efficient and sustainable building systems to be used in the aftermath of natural disasters or emergencies.
If TECLA becomes a staple in the construction industry, it can provide immediate and safe housing for displaced communities.
“We like to think that TECLA is the beginning of a new story,” said Mario Cucinella, founder and creative director of Mario Cucinella Architects, which designed the unique habitat.
“It would be really extraordinary to shape the future by transforming this ancient material with the technologies we have today,” he said. “The aesthetics of this house are the result of a technical and physical effort. It was not only an aesthetic approach. It is an honest and sincere form.”
TECLA proves that it is possible to build a home with a low to zero carbon footprint. The structure is based only on locally obtained raw earth materials, which helps to get rid of waste and excreta.
The construction of the prototype for the 646-square-foot structure began with mixing regional soils with water and special additives. The engineers then analyzed the terrain samples before moving on to the printing stage of the house’s exterior.
A pair of synchronous printer arms, called the Crane WASP system, then work apart, simultaneously picking, mixing, and pumping materials in layers. The use of giant printers eliminated the need for scaffolding.
Each printer can print an area of 538 square feet, which means that one TECLA unit can be completed in 200 hours with an average power consumption of less than 6 kW.
TECLA’s first home, consisting of two circular buildings tucked together, features an open plan living room with kitchen, bedroom corner, small bathroom, and wardrobe.
It also included tables and chairs made from 3D printers. With the interior furnishings already in place, occupants can move quickly.
Both areas of the unit are fitted with a dome-shaped skylight that allows natural light to stream in when the sun is shining. It also offers a great view of the starry sky when evening comes.
Each TECLA dome features ventilation, thermal insulation, and water retention within the home. There is no need to install air conditioning or heating because the walls already provide insulation.
“TECLA shows that a beautiful, healthy and sustainable home can be built with a machine, providing essential information for local raw materials,” said Massimo Moretti, founder of WASP.
“TECLA is the finger pointing to the moon. The moon is the home, as a birthright, for every person on this planet. From TECLA onwards, this is made possible.”
The structure is built from the ground, so it can be erected almost anywhere using local soil. 3D printers can create different shapes that can adapt to the geographical location and climatic conditions where they will be built.
“If I’m designing a building in a hot, dry climate, I need to protect the building well and create thicker walls for ventilation,” Cochinella explained.
Kirsten Dirksen, a YouTuber who produces videos about simple living, tiny homes, alternative transportation and more, visited WASP to learn more about the company’s 3D-printed eco homes.
Watch more of Kirsten Dirksen’s videos on her YouTube.