Eco-sustainable 3D Printed Mud House to Solve Global Housing Shortage

Massimo Moretti, founder of the Italian company WASP, explains how his company was able to develop technology to build homes from the land components, on which they will be built, with one click, anywhere, any time and by anyone.

The population of the planet in 2049 will reach 9.7 billion, and everyone has the right to a home; But the problem of housing shortages is global, which is why the Italian company “Wasp”, which specializes in 3D printing, has developed an environmentally friendly solution to build homes at a lower cost.

In a report published by the French website L’obs, Moretti answers questions related to the process of building Tecla, an ecological earthen house, using a 3D printing system.

As we can see, you can build a house from clay that is sustainable and environmentally friendly; But is it as simple as it sounds?

3D printing technology allows a different approach to construction. Tecla is a mud house, and thanks to its shape, the earth has been made supportive. We have taken the technical possibilities of a material as humble as earth to the extreme. This shape demonstrates the maximum limits that we have managed to achieve with technology.

Does this type of construction impose restrictions on the wishes of the architects?

Moretti says that the form of construction is related to the potential of the land and soil, on which it is done. Above all, the architect must work with the material, and therefore with the technology; So he must know it, and adapt it to the materials.

Of course, we cannot imagine building skyscrapers with this material. But it is possible to build low buildings, with wider walls, and with sizes and shapes that improve thermal insulation, and of course very large walls can be made; Because clay costs almost nothing and is ubiquitous.

Can we live in this house like in a traditional house?

Moretti stresses that the house is comfortable. “We note very good air quality, humidity and a constant temperature,” he says. This is due to the large mass of the walls, which creates thermal insulation for about 12 hours; So the average temperature is constant during the day, and since the mud absorbs moisture, this results in a constant average of humidity.

How does a 3D printer work?

Moretti explains that the best building method is the oldest method; It is a crane.

This is a classic construction crane, which we have innovatively modified to make it extremely accurate. We can deposit exact amount of material down to grams and millimeters.

We have reproduced what was already there in ancient times, with the accuracy that modern technology allows us, the most innovative thing is that this crane can communicate with other cranes.

How long does it take to build one of these homes?

The time according to my quote depends on the height required of the walls; But depending on the type of soil, humidity, temperature, and air quality, printing a home takes anywhere from a day to a month.

Does this technology make building a series of homes easier?

Moretti believes that the main strength of digital manufacturing is that the same products can be duplicated with a single click. While building a normal home requires a team of good site engineers and workers and accumulated experience that is then transferred from one site manager to another, and knowledge transfer takes decades, it is only in digital manufacturing that all knowledge is contained in one file.

So it is especially suitable for mass production, and we can transfer all this knowledge to anywhere else in the world. You just need to be equipped with the same machines, even without specialized labor.

What is the price of this building?

Moretti says the cost of 3D printing is really competitive, and it will be cheaper in the future; Because the means will always be better and faster.

The most innovative thing about 3D printing today is the ability to build with freeform shapes. There is no longer any need for scaffolding or material control systems, with these features we only need architecture to work to explore entirely new forms.

One of your characteristics is to develop a sustainable approach, can you explain to us?

Moretti answers that his approach is based on the realization that in the next 30 years, around 3 billion people will need new homes.

These people will need a home that is low cost and has a low impact on the environment. In many places around the world, there is no infrastructure to produce high quality cement.

Not to mention, a ton of cement generates a ton of carbon dioxide. If we want a cement home for everyone, we have to ask ourselves whether it is affordable on planet Earth.

It may seem strange to build houses from clay; But we have a long-term vision, and a few years ago we were seen as weird people. With Tecla, we have proven that it is possible.

“It’s not perfect yet,” he says, “and we can improve.” But we contribute a vision, and we wait for others to join us. Together we must revolutionize the way we think about building.