TECLA | A 3D printed global habitat for sustainable living

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The challenge of TECLA, the eco-sustainable 3D printed habitat, took form. “From the shapeless earth to the earth as house shaped”.

We completed the printing phase of the TECLA supporting structure, the first and unique fully 3D printed construction based on natural materials and made with multiple 3D printers operating at the same time. The innovative habitat model engineered by WASP and designed by MC A – Mario Cucinella Architects took form, a new circular model of housing entirely created with reusable and recyclable materials, sourced from local soil, carbon-neutral and adaptable to any climate and context.

TECLA (which takes its name from Technology and Clay) was made in Massa Lombarda (Ravenna – Italy) with Crane WASP – WASP’s brand new 3D printer in the construction sector – it represented a real challenge for 3D printing, maximizing the performance of a material among the oldest and at the same time among the most stimulating for the future of the green economy: the raw earth.

TECLA is in fact the peak of advanced research between matter and technology, it is the achievement of an unparalleled challenge that has brought the printing geometry to its physical limit. The project represents an unprecedented perspective for buildings and new settlements, in which the value of local raw materials is amplified by digital design. The double dome solution made it possible to cover at the same time the roles of structure, roof and external cladding, making the house high-performance on all aspects.

«From the shapeless earth to the earth as house shaped. Today we have the knowledge to build with no impact in a simple click. – says Massimo Moretti, WASP Founder – Technology is now at the human service and the home as a birthright is real.»

«The completion of the structure is an important milestone and shows that, thanks to the design and technologies used, TECLA is no longer just a theoretical idea but can be a real and achievable response to the needs of living today and the future, that can be declined in different contexts and latitudes», underlines Mario Cucinella, Founder of Mario Cucinella Architects and SOS – School of Sustainability.

Inspired by potter wasp, since 2012 WASP (World’s Advanced Saving Project) have been developing viable construction processes based on the principles of circular economy and digital fabrication. On the market since 2021, WASP produces 3D-printed houses in the shortest possible time and in the most sustainable way with the first multi-printer Crane WASP system, the company’s flagship of the construction line and the newco WASP On Site the company’s benchmark in architecture.

Crane WASP is the world’s first modular and multilevel 3D printer designed to collaboratively build singular and even more extensive architectural works.

The system is configured according to project needs and defines the structure of a safe and extremely efficient construction site. Each printer unit has a printing area of 50 square meters and therefore makes it possible to build independent living modules, of any shape, in a few days.

TECLA is the first eco-habitat built using, at the same time, multiple Crane WASP collaborative printers and it is the demonstration that 3D technology is able to create buildings by optimizing the construction process and minimizing the use of human and energy resources. The construction process can be replicated from time to time, thanks to the WASP Maker Economy Starter Kit, consisting of multiple 3D printers and a complex system of picking, mixing and pumping materials.

For the first time in the world, two printing arms have been synchronized as part of a construction, thanks to software capable of optimizing movements, avoiding collisions and ensuring simultaneous operation. The WASP proprietary software used for TECLA is the synthesis of years of research that have led to the computerization of shapeless matter, managing to build the imaginable.

TECLA can be synthesized in: 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 an average consumption of less than 6 kW.

The final installation of TECLA and its presentation are scheduled for Spring 2021.

TECLA, a 3D printed global habitat for sustainable living

WASP and MC A – Mario Cucinella Architects have embarked on the construction of an innovative model for a 3D printed habitat and will be launching the first prototype near Bologna, Italy. Born from a vision to provide a home for everyone at a time of exponential population increase and an associated lack of affordable housing, TECLA is a new circular housing model, created using entirely reusable, recyclable materials taken from the local terrain.  Built using Crane WASP – the latest innovation in on-site 3D construction, TECLA represents a step-change in the move towards eco-housing.

TECLA - 3d printed house

WASP takes inspiration from the potter wasp. We build 3D printed houses using earth found on the spot, under a sustainable perspective. The oldest material and a state of the art technology merge to give new hope to the world. GAIA, our first 3D printed house made with raw earth, was born a year ago. Today with our partners we are printing TECLA an entire eco-sustainable habitat. The planet is asking for a joint project that we share with Mario Cucinella.

Massimo Moretti

Together with WASP we aim at developing an innovative 3D-printed prototype for a habitat that responds to the increasingly urgent climate revolution and the needs of changes dictated by community needs. We need a paradigm shift in the field of architecture that gets closer to the needs of people, thus finding an answer for the “Earth” within the “earth”. A collaboration that becomes the union between empathic architecture and the application of new technologies.

Mario Cucinella

A United Nations report published in 2017 demonstrates that the current global population of 7.6 billion people is expected to reach 11.2 billion in 2100, and in 2030 nearly 5 billion people are expected to live in cities. Consequently, governments are faced with substantial challenges related to housing solutions. With more and more rural areas being incorporated into cities, it is the idea  of city itself that must be challenged.

Designed by MC A and engineered and built by WASP

Taking inspiration from potter wasps, since 2012, WASP (World’s Advanced Saving Project) have been developing viable construction processes based on the principles of circular economy, that will create 3D printed houses in the shortest period of time, and in the most sustainable way possible.
TECLA will be the first habitat to be built using multiple collaborative 3D printers, offering a greater scope of scale than ever before.
Used in the context of a wider masterplan, TECLA has the potential to become the basis for brand new autonomous eco-cities that are off the current grid.

TECLA will be the first house to be entirely 3D printed using locally sourced clay

A biodegradable and recyclable ‘km 0 natural’ material which will effectively make the building zero-waste.
It will be built to adapt to multiple environments, and it will be suitable for self-production through the use of WASP’s innovative Maker Economy Starter Kit.
This approach will limit industrial waste and offer a unique sustainable model that will boost the national and local economy, improving the wellbeing of communities.
Furthermore, the scheme will significantly accelerate the construction process as the 3D printer will produce the entire structure at once.

TECLA was developed using in-depth research undertaken by the SOS - School of Sustainability

A professional school founded by Mario Cucinella that combines education, research and practice.
The research, conducted with the support of MA students from the Sustainable Environmental Design programme at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London, explored the cause and effects of homelessness.
It interrogated the use of technological advances to enable a solution, based on case studies in locations with different climates.
The result is a highly flexible envelope, designed to be resilient to any climate and energy-efficient in a way that traditional housing models are not.

TECLA - Maker Economy Starter Kit - WASP
TECLA - 3d printed house - 3d model
TECLA - 3d printed earth wall - Crane WASP - 02
TECLA - 3d printed earth wall section by Crane WASP

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TECLA - 3d printed earth house

Partners and technology

The collaboration between MC A and WASP has been supported by Mapei, a worldwide producer of construction materials, which has studied the clay materials and identified the key components within the raw earth mixture to create the final highly optimised printable product. Structural tests were carried out by Milan Ingegneria, a Milan-based engineering consultancy, which worked on the optimisation of the shape in order to create a self-supporting structure.  The frames, customised and highly-efficient, have been engineered and produced by Capoferri, a company specialised in architectural frames and always at the forefront of technological advances, while the landscaping has been curated by Frassinago, a multidsciplinary company that includes a design studio that deals with landscape architecture, and a firm specialized in the gardening and outdoor sector. RiceHouse provided technical consultancy about bio-materials deriving from rice cultivation waste, which affected the thermal performance and living comfort of the building envelope. The lighting project, developed both internally and externally with the aim of achieving the maximum flexibility and sustainability of the intervention, has been developed by Lucifero’s.

TECLA received planning approval in May 2019, commenced printing in September 2019. The final installation and its presentation are scheduled for Spring 2021.


A project by WASP & Mario Cucinella Architects

WASP Engineering and 3D printing construction
Mario Cucinella Architects Architectural design and management

In collaboration with:

SOS – School of Sustainability Research partner
Mapei Materials consultancy and supply
Milan Ingegneria Structural consultancy
Capoferri Frames engineering and production
RiceHouse Bio-materials consultancy and supply
Frassinago Landscaping
Lucifero’s Lighting design
Imola Legno: Timber solutions consultancy and supply
Primat • Terracruda®: Earthen floor supply
Cefla: Electrical solutions supply

Under the patronage of:

Municipality of Massa Lombarda

Sponsored by:

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EU Horizon 2020 - IMPRESS Project

The European project Impress (New Easy to Install and Manufacture PRE-Fabricated Modules Supported by a BIM based Integrated Design Process), active from June 2015 to May 2019, represented a significant opportunity for the development of the Delta WASP 3MT 3D printer, offering innovative applications in the field of architectural design.

The aim of the project was to investigate new constructive scenarios designed to advance quality standards in the construction sector, based on manufacturing processes with an unprecedented technological value. Impress has focused mainly on the definition of new manufacturing and installation processes for panels for cladding facades, with considerable advantages in terms of industrial production, thermophysical performance and process repeatability.

Among the objectives of the project it was fundamental to establish a dialogue between the latest technologies, simultaneously involving 3D scanning, reconfigurable molding and 3D printing to obtain high-performance panels intended for the reconstruction of existing facades or the definition of formal languages ​​from the high aesthetic value.

WASP focused on the development of a 3D printer, Delta WASP 3MT, designed to offer productive advantages in the field of additive manufacturing with a reconfigurable extrusion set-up based on the needs of different sectors. In fact, thanks to the use of a wide range of materials, from technical polymers to clay-based mixtures, to cement mortars, it is possible to create functional objects with more articulated shapes within the large print volume.

This feature allows the printer in question to be considered among the most significant 3D technologies for the production of objects on an architectural scale. This progress was made possible thanks to the improvement of mechanics and electronics, guaranteeing precision and efficiency highly sought after in building practice.

WASP's activity in relation to the Impress project was strongly based on the creation of molds or portions of molds for architectural-scale paneling systems, designed by the consortium of partners and destined for validation by manufacturers to ensure the real application.

Some of the most important fairs in which the Delta WASP 3MT 3D printer was promoted are listed below:

2016

Technology Hub Milan - June 2016

AM Show, Amsterdam - July 2016

Argillà, Faenza - August 2016

Maker Faire, Madrid - September 2016

Maker Faire, Rome - October 2016

Maker Faire, New York - October 2016

Maker Faire, Bilbao - October 2016

2017

Smart manufacturing for a smart city, Milan - April 2017

Vision, London - June 2017

Maker Faire, Barcelona - June 2017

Maker Faire, Bilbao - October 2017

CosmoCaixa, Barcelona - October 2017

Maker Faire, Santiago - October 2017

Milan Triennale - November 2017

2018

Technology Hub, Milan - March 2018

In3Dustry, Barcelona - October 2018


3d printed vase, spheres composition

An unprecedented art collection of 3D printed vases by WASP and Andrea Salvatori

collezione d'arte stampata in 3d, sfera

Ikebana Rock’n’Roll is the first art collection of 3D printed vases born by the dialogue between Delta WASP 40100 Clay and the artist Andrea Salvatori. It will go on stage at THE POOL NYC in Milan from 3rd April to 31st May 2019.

The one between Andrea Salvatori and 3D printing is an unprecedented, exuberant and at the same time composed confrontation, made of fleeting imperfections and reasoned pauses, which originates from an innate conflict between human creation and technical artifice, between man and machine.
The machine, in this case, is the 3D printer Delta WASP 40100 Clay, designed by WASP to be at the side of the ceramists throughout the artistic process, radically rethinking the idea of the work thanks to the innovative opportunities offered by digital fabrication.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5BrO1g6BNM

The 3D printing is the symbol of a new artistic current, the result of unique digital repertoires and still not employed by contemporary art. The collaboration between WASP and the Master aims to outline new artistic scenarios, in which mechanical routines and sculptural gestures coexist in the compositional dialogue of the work, generating unique3D printed vases .
Salvatori conceives this relationship with an extremely fascinating intuition: to tamper with the perfection of printing with a miscellany of ceramic insertions. The process of depositing the material and setting the spheres is a central theme in the Ikebana Rock’n’Roll collection, to the point of convincing Salvatori to name the works “Composition 40100”, as if they originated from a musical dialogue of the most varied tones. The artist upsets the algorithm reiterated slavishly by the machine with imperfect musical accents, the result from time to time of spontaneous actions and reasoned processes.

vaso stampato in 3d, processo

The ikebanes, proposed by Andrea Salvatori in the exhibition, transcend the experimental limits of an abstract investigation, representing a concrete territory in which 3D printing and ceramic art co-exist synergistically. The Master challenges the confrontation with the public, becoming also in this sector, precursor of a new genre in which WASP feels itself fully represented.


casa stampata in 3d, muro

3D Printing for Sustainable Living

3D Printing for Sustainable Living

After the construction of Gaia, the first architectural model 3D printed with raw earth using the Crane WASP, the company starts a new technological phase in view of Expo 2020.

"Everyone in the world will have a fine, healthy, sustainable, self-sufficient and ecological home for birthright. The earth is our witness, took form in Gaia.”
Massimo Moretti

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KPaOCWrZJ94&t=0s

WASP introduces “3D Printing for Sustainable Living
for the coming 2019, a long-term program, focused on the development of
construction processes through 3D printing and digital fabrication,
towards a new concept of house building.

As already announced in the conference “A Call to save the World”, WASP runs for a collaboration with partners belonging to every sector, from architectural design to the university research, from humanitarian associations to national ministries, able to fully share the project. It proposes a strategic program of constructive activities, expressly designed for on-site 3D printing and developed through the use of local raw materials.

Gaia, the first architectural model 3D printed using
 the innovative technology of Crane WASP and  launched in
October 2018, is an integral part of the program and represents a case-study,
crucial to fully understand the potentialities offered by the additive
manufacturing in the field of construction. The mentioned construction embodies
an advanced eco-sustainable model, especially in light of performances
provided by the walls in terms of interior comfort and in light of cost
reduction
, thanks to the use of raw earth and natural waste.

WASP, aware of future
opportunities in the field of green building, runs for representing a real
leader of housing market thanks to technological willingness offered and
established network of collaborators able to share and foster the project. In
this regard, the company, available to perform the vision compatible with
requests of each partner, intends to create an eco-district, which might
implement the goals of “3D Printing for Sustainable Living” and put in place constructive
strategies replicable
in every environmental circumstances.

Expected partners:

  • Universities of Engineering, Architecture, Economics;
  • Ministries: Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Internal, Defense, Economics and Finance, Economic Development, Food and Forestry Agricultural Policies and Tourism, Environment and Protection of Land and Sea, Infrastructure and Transport, Labor and Social Policies, Education, University and Research, Cultural Heritage and Activities, Health;
  • Humanitarian associations and Onlus;
  • Public and private authorities;
  • Banking institutions and foundations.

“3D Printing for
Sustainable Living” is based on the following main macro-areas:

  • Promotion of human and material resources from the territory 
  1. Employment of local manpower devoid of advanced training;
  2. Capitalization of human knowledge;
  3. Democratisation of technology for production purposes;
  4. Use of materials easily found on site;
  5. Employment of renewable energy sources.
  • Sustainability of construction process with low environmental impact
  1. Reduction in transport operations and costs with consequent logistics improvement;
  2. Reduced use of concrete;
  3. Employment of natural waste from the agricultural chain and consequent reduction of CO2 emission;
  4. Planning of the construction lifecycle;
  5. Reduction in the costs of construction.
  • Recycling materials
  1. Recycling natural waste from the agricultural chain;
  2. Rubble-recycling;
  3. Significant material saving thanks to controlled deposition.
  • Digitalization of construction site
  1. Mistakes-reduction due to on-site measuring with consequent overcoming of the traditional means of measurement;
  2. Constant definition of correct spatial coordinates;
  3. Monitoring of construction site;
  4. 3D scanning for digital data acquisition;
  5. Feedback between digital and real data; correction among possible construction issues.
  • Multi-purposes construction
  1. Achievement of high construction performances thanks to controlled material deposition;
  2. Embedding of supply facilities during construction, avoiding secondary working;
  3. Thermal insulation and natural ventilation directly on the wall construction;
  4. Coordinated use of multiple methods of digital fabrication, included CNC technology and prefab techniques.
  • Digital design
  1. Digitalization of construction project, available as a 3D printing digital file;
  2. Sharing digital contents available on the Internet;
  3. Replicability of the architectural project thanks to the versatility of 3D technology
  4. High constructive quality;
  5. Realization of architectural shapes non-realizable with ordinary methods;
  6. Employment of material optimization algorithm for construction purposes;
  7. Integrated design with BIM software.
https://www.instagram.com/p/Bs3T06nFzbr/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link
https://www.instagram.com/p/BuZJIQuIyvu/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

3d printed wall, staircase

3D printed earth wall with embedded staircase

3D printed earth wall with embedded staircase

IAAC and WASP present an innovative prototype of a 3D printed wall designed and engineered by IAAC and realised by Crane WASP within the Open Thesis Fabrication research (OTF), a programme of the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) focused on additive manufacturing in the field of construction.

This wall continues the research already undertaken in the cases-study Digital Adobe Wall (IAAC) and Gaia (WASP), the 3D printed earthen house, enhancing the design opportunities of on-site 3D printing  towards the achievement of multi-purpose architectural systems, able to promote the development of new construction scenarios.

3d printed wall, front

WASP and IAAC have set their focus on a collaboration that results in proposing an architectural solution for affordable sustainable housing for and partially built by the people. Thanks to international networks with universities of architectural design, WASP gives the possibility to use the company labs and technologies, taking part in the current architecture lines of research.

At IAAC, an institute that explores the future of architecture and construction, students and researchers develop projects that aim to propose urban, architectural and construction solutions arising from the use of new technologies and, in turn, incorporates computer design and analysis to provide innovative solutions for a more sustainable habitat and city.

The 3D printing technology is progressively considered a viable construction strategy because of the advancement in design methods refined by educational programmes. In this line, IAAC’s Open Thesis Fabrication programme train researchers and practitioners on computational design, material engineering and robotic fabrication to foster new design opportunities on bioclimatic architecture.

About the prototype

The prototype 1:1 represents a wall portion 40 cm thick, with timber elements interlocked, providing support for stairs and floor structures, accurately designed for being anchored to the printed part. This work can be considered a first significant step towards the realization of load-bearing earthen structures. Indeed, the wall has been realized employing a mixture of clay and rice fibres, provided by RiceHouse for this specific purpose.

The printing process took 40 hours, with an overall material amount of 2 cubic meters, by modelling internally multiple surfaces able to confer both solidity and aesthetic expressivity. In light of results obtained with Gaia and this project, Crane WASP becomes an increasingly useful tool for transferring design logic into real construction models, easily allowing the experimentation of innovative architectural systems and promoting the progress of 3D printing in the construction industry.

About the collaboration

With this collaboration, WASP and IAAC underpin a strategic programme of shared projects, research and ongoing activities aimed at establishing 3D printing on-site solutions for affordable and sustainable housing, with the ultimate mission of consolidating a network of partners across all sectors, from architectural design to university research, from humanitarian associations to international organisations such as already done by IAAC and UN Habitat.

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Casa stampata in 3d, fronte

The first 3D printed House with earth | Gaia

The 3d printed house Gaia

On the occasion of the “Viaggio a Shamballa” event and the “A call to save the world” conference, WASP presents Gaia, a case study of 3D printed house using the new Crane WASP  technology with natural materials from the surrounding area. The Italian company’s commitment, since its origins in 2012, has been constantly aimed to the development of equipment for additive manufacturing on an architectural scale and the inauguration of Gaia represents an important milestone, also in light of all the researches conducted in the 3d printing field, in the design and materials study, researches that, in 2015, have allowed the realization of the 12 meters BigDelta WASP 12MT.

Casa stampata in 3d, fronte

Gaia, a new eco-sustainable house model designed and built using the 3D printer called Crane WASP.

A new eco-sustainable house model

Gaia, whose name is due to the use of raw soil as the main binder of the constituent mixture, can be considered a new eco-sustainable architectural model with particular attention to the use of natural waste materials, coming from the rice production chain and oriented to the construction of particularly efficient masonry from a bioclimatic and healthy point of view. This research was also possible thanks to the collaboration with RiceHouse.

casa stampata in 3d, lato

“The Potter Wasp Is Our Development Model, A Perfect Approach To Building Low Cost Houses With Zero Kilometer Natural Material”

Massimo Moretti

Natural materials and bioclimatic aspects

Gaia is a highly performing module both in terms of energy and indoor health, with an almost zero environmental impact. Printed in a few weeks thanks to its masonry, it does not need heating or an air conditioning system, as it maintains a mild and comfortable temperature inside both in winter and in summer.

For the realization of Gaia, RiceHouse supplied the vegetable fibers through which WASP has developed a compound composed of 25% of soil taken from the site (30% clay, 40% silt and 30% sand), 40% from straw chopped rice, 25% rice husk and 10% hydraulic lime. The mixture has been mixed through the use of a wet pan mill, able to make the mixture homogeneous and workable.

in collaboration with

casa stampata in 3d, muro

From design to construction

The bioclimatic project by RiceHouse takes advantages of the passive contribution of the sun thanks to its South West orientation where a large window is positioned to optimize natural light, but in particular is centered in the stratigraphy both in the roof, made of wood with an insulation in lime+chaff (RH300), both in the lime+chaff screed, light but thermal that allow to reach an energy requirement equal to a class A4. The monolithic wall printed in 3D was then finished internally with a shaving clay-lamina (RH400), smoothed and oiled with linseed oils.

The external casing, completely 3D printed on-site through the Crane WASP, has been designed with the aim of integrating natural ventilation systems and thermo-acoustic insulation systems in only one solution. The deposition of the material based on raw earth, straw and rice husk is controlled through articulated weaves able to confer at the same time constructive solidity and geometric variation along the entire wall development. The versatility of the computational design is in fact made possible in the construction practice thanks to the precision and speed of the 3D technology, obtaining complex geometries, difficult to replicate with the traditional construction systems. It took 10 days for the realization of the 3d printed casing, for a total of 30 square meters of wall whose thickness is 40 cm and the total cost of the materials used in the wall structure is € 900.

Possible developments and scenarios

On the basis of the data experimented with Gaia, it is possible to concretely conceive new economic scenarios in which one hectare of cultivated paddy field can become 100 square meters of built area.

Gaia experience offers the opportunity to divulge the multiple potential that 3D printing can express thanks to the world agricultural resources, guaranteeing a minimum environmental impact in addition to infinite design solutions, essential in a new living frontier vision.

Casa stampata in 3d, Crane WASP

Crane WASP
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Project: Gaia Inauguration: 6-7 October 2018 Location: Via Castelletto 104, Massa Lombarda (RA) Design: WASP In collaboration with: RiceHouse 3d printer: Crane WASP Surface: 20 sq.m. Printed building envelope: 30 sq.m. Total materials’ cost of the wall: 900 € Materials: Raw soil, straw, rice husk, lime. Construction time: 10 days

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FAQ Frequently asked questions and insights

GAIA is the result of our 7 years of research in the field of 3D printing and architecture, we strongly wanted this architectural module to demonstrate which is the current potential of 3D printing in the architectural field, with its advantages and its limitations, and has an immersive experience for our guests.

GAIA was built with an evolution of traditional raw earth construction techniques. Great importance in this type of construction is given to the foundation, fundamental to avoid dangerous infiltration of water from the ground and to avoid breakage due to differential ground subsidence. In our case the foundation is made up of parts molded in cement mortar and reinforced concrete castings that also serve for the joint of the structure. The masonry in raw earth rests on a concrete slab and contains inside: the system of systems, the thermal insulation system and the external wall ventilation system. The glulam roof is supported by a pillar structure also made of laminated wood, embedded in the foundation, this guarantees the usability of the spaces in total safety.

The thermal performance exceeded the design expectations, and proved to be very satisfactory. The average thermal transmittance of the molded masonry of the module is 0.249 W / m2K and makes possible, thanks to the excellent performance of the floor and roof elements, the cataloging of Gaia in energy class A4. We are also monitoring internal environmental parameters to get a real feedback on the calculated values.

The GAIA architectural module has a physical protection against atmospheric agents, the wide covering guarantees a good protection against thunderstorms. The material used does not have any type of chemical protection that would alter its composition, nevertheless, there were no problems of washing out erosion.

GAIA was designed to be built in Massa Lombarda (RA) Italy and therefore complies with all current construction standards. The printed portion is loaded only by its own weight and appears as an external padding to the lamellar wood structure which supports the roof. Although our intent is to build entirely printed buildings, at the moment our technology does not allow us to provide the molded portions with a resistance and such resistance as to allow them to be used structurally in areas deemed to be at risk from earthquakes.

  1. Customizable design: freedom of form, from the simplest to the most complex geometries generated by CAD software;
  2. High energy efficiency: the building envelope with earth, straw and husk, with insulation and ventilation chambers guarantees excellent transmittance values
  3. Advanced material: mixing earth, straw and rice husk, it is possible to obtain a composite and fiber-reinforced material suitable for 3D printing. The presence of vegetable fibers limits shrinkage during drying and significantly reduces the fragility of the earth material.
  4. Low impact material: the energy needed to transform the soil into 3D printing material is very little, but even less is that necessary for its disposal, in fact unless building is not maintained, it will soon be ground again.
  5. Speed ​​of construction: 2 men can build an enclosure that protects 20 square meters of floor space in 10 days.
  6. High Tech / Low Tech: new life to traditional techniques, in our case an ancient material such as raw earth combined with straw becomes with 3D printing a highly performing and workable material, like the most advanced building materials.
  7. Dissemination of knowledge: thanks to 3D printing, architectural projects can become processes capable of adapting to different contexts, this would increase the possibility of sharing knowledge connected to building on a global scale.
  8. Curative walls: we are developing a system of diffusion of essential oils inside the walls of the building to repel mosquitoes and parasites without using harmful substances. This system would guarantee the use of repellents without having direct contact with building users.
  9. Reuse of materials: all our projects are born to be placed in a circular economic model, for this reason waste materials such as soil, waste from the agri-food chain and rubble can be used for new constructions.

The construction times are related to the type of material that is used:

  1. Using our mixture of raw earth and straw it is possible to extrude at a speed of 4200 mm / min with a maximum feed in height of 300 mm in 24 h to allow the drying of the material. This allowed us to print a wall consisting of 7 layers of 2.70 m high in 100 hours for a total of 22 km of car route. By simplifying the geometry, it is possible to reduce printing times to reach the desired height, but this does not coincide with our desire to obtain high performance walls.
  2. If you intend to use cement-based mixtures or that in any case by means of a chemical reaction they have a rapid change in state (from liquid to solid), it is possible to increase the progress in height reaching a limit of 150 mm / h. The speed of movement of the printer is instead related to the fluidity of the material, with well-calibrated materials it is possible to reach 6000 mm / min.

GAIA is a unique case in the world, because it is tangible evidence that the principles of the circular economy can be applied in the construction and 3D technology sector. Gaia is the result of a limited and optimized use of agricultural resources, which through technology have been converted into a complex building envelope with minimal environmental impact. We also believe it is possible to develop materials suitable for extrusion using mixtures of materials found on sites different from ours, without neglecting the possibility of using debris and rubble of pre-existing buildings properly shredded and mixed with new binders.

GAIA is an architectural module derived from the desire of showing the full potential of our technology capable of using materials at zero Km, however it would be possible to realize the same concrete wall, but losing all the benefits of a construction in natural materials.

The shape of GAIA was born from the aim of obtaining the largest surface area possible with a single printer unit, the circular plan therefore allows to maximize the walkable area and reduce the wall surface. However, it is possible to print buildings with any imprint on the ground, in addition the Crane WASP is made to meet any size requirement. You can also print multi-storey buildings by editing the Crane WASP during printing, as long as the material used for printing allows it.

To build the walls of GAIA were used:

  1. 800 kg of rice husk, 150 kg of rice straw, 11000 kg of ground soil and 800 kg of natural hydraulic lime. The masonry has a maximum height of 2.70 m for a total area of ​​30 square meters and a thickness that varies from 45 to 35 cm.
  2. The Crane WASP has a steady-state absorption of 1.1 Kw / h, while the pumping system has a steady-state absorption of 2.0 Kw / h. 290 Kw of electricity were used to complete the masonry of GAIA.
  3. The entire printing phase of 100 hours was followed by a person in charge of the preparation of the material and one in the 3D printing control, for a total of 200 hours of manpower.

GAIA is an architectural project that includes multiple processes. WASP has currently carried out research aimed at developing innovative systems for masonry and foundations.

The evaluation of construction costs, comparing the 3D printed buildings with the ordinary ones, is not right because it does not make customers aware of the technological value of the former. It is instead appropriate to compare the opportunities offered by 3D technology in terms of constructive efficiency, spatial articulation and energy performance.

Currently the company intends to evaluate the critical issues of the system and to bring the level of process automation to a higher level. The next step will be to approach the building world as a supplier of on-site 3D printing services. In a couple of years, when the whole system will reach a high degree of reliability, we will proceed with the sale of all the equipment necessary for printing.

The interest and development of buildings through 3D printing is growing exponentially, however it is still difficult to imagine a real market spread in the upcoming years. WASP will be the protagonist in the evolution of this technology, offering new construction perspectives and new models of living.