Work is almost complete on a series of 3D-printed houses that push the boundaries of construction and fabrication. Called TECLA, this project features futuristic dome-shaped dwellings located near Bologna, Italy. The unusual forms and uniquely layered interiors make TECLA interesting enough on its own, but the style is not what makes this project so special.
Designed by Mario Cucinella Architects and planned for fabrication by WASP, TECLA features 3D printers that mechanically place layers upon layers of clay made from natural and local materials. This means that the building is zero-waste because all construction materials assembled in the structure can easily be recycled. Once complete, it will be the first house to be built with these materials in this fabrication process, and it will also be the first to be produced by multiple 3D printers working on the same structure.
This design and the innovative construction process that made it possible is a serious response to some of the issues facing architects around the world. How do we accommodate a growing population and a lack of affordable housing? How do we meet these demands while reinventing the way we build in order to lessen our impact on the environment? Mario Cucinella explains, “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. It can be a real and achievable response to the needs of living today and the future.”
According to Cucinella and the design team, the so-far successful construction of TECLA means that this model may work for other environments as well. WASP has created a “maker economy starter kit” that will help others recreate this sustainable design—maybe even on a much larger scale like an entire city of zero-waste structures.
TECLA is expected to finish construction in Spring 2021. You can find more information about the design process on Mario Cucinella Architects' website and more news about the fabrication of TECLA and crane WASP here.