WASP at MADEexpo: 3D Printing

for fully sustainable housing

From March 18th to the 21st WASP will be at the MADEexpo exhibit in Milan. This is not the first housing fair the Italian group is attending but it is the first where the BigDelta- the 4 meters tall house 3D printer, prototype of the upcoming 12 meter tall final version will use the new extruder with a rotating nozzle to print using several different cement mixtures. WASP’s goal remains that of 3D printing a fully sustainable house, and more surprising news are on the way.
The contribution that 3D technology can offer the construction sector is significant, starting from small complements such as fountains or capitals all the way to the manufacturing of complete inhabitable structures, which would reduce production times and costs.

The WASPteam green inspiration has been a common thread since the very start and Massimo Moretti, the project’s founder, emphasizes the risk of the abuse of 3D printing in construction work: “3D printing is a technology that offers several advantages. Implementing it with old and polluting materials such as traditional cement could lead to an exponential degeneration: tens of houses could be built in just one day and the potential of 3D printing could be exploited for speculative ends. We need to pay very close attention to the kind of research we want to take forward.”

WASP is not looking for a compromise. The project of 3D printing a house using clay material remains the main focus of its experimentation: the final objective of which is a healthy approach to house manufacturing, using only materials available on location, at minimal costs and without residue once it is disposed of.

The most potentially revolutionary innovation is currently being studied to assure that the clay does not shrink as it dries and it involves the use of seeds from certain weeds mixed in with the 3D printable material. The seeds are intended to absorb the clay’s humidity, to then grow and develop their roots into a sort of fully natural embedded “armor”. The habitative structure will thus become a sustainable habitat. The use of the seeds will offer a practical solution to the issue of clay shrinking: the reinforcements produced by the roots will set the material in a more permanent way, thus allowing for it to fully dry without altering its.

At WASP we are experimenting with certain types of plants such as the Bermuda grass, one of the most infesting plant types known to man. The exact type of botanical variety will be selected according to the type of territory and climate, because WASP’s research does, quite literally, take place “on the field”. This idea of “armoring the houses from the inside” using roots, is certainly as innovative as it is imaginative: it will require a long and intense work from the team of botanical, architectural and 3D printing experts that have already began developing the first concepts.



First successful attempts made by di +LAB

photo by +LAB