This 3D-Printed House in Italy Might Just Be the Future of Design

It's made entirely of clay.

Mario Cucinella TECLA 3D-Printed House
Mario Cucinella Architects

Italian design and architecture have influenced the rest of the world for centuries: see the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, and Guido Drocco and Franco Mello’s avant-garde 1960s-era cactus coat rack. So it is today as ever. Italian architect Mario Cucinella has designed an incredible 3D-printed house called the TECLA that’s being built as we speak just outside Bologna.

Made from clay that’s ejected from a state-of-the-art 3D printer called the Crane WASP, the structure is being hailed as the future of sustainable design. It also looks a whole lot like an igloo-shaped mud hut, with a skylight in the ceiling to allow light to penetrate the windowless space’s interior not unlike the oculus in the Pantheon. But the spare look is by design: Cucinella created the podlike dwellings as a response to the increasingly pressing issues of overpopulation, shortages of affordable housing, and degradation of the natural environment—hence the use of clay, a reusable, biodegradable material with minimal environmental impact.

Mario Cucinella Architects TECLA 3D-Printed House
Mario Cucinella Architects

When the TECLA is complete—ideally in early 2020—it will be the first house to be built entirely from 3D-printed clay. It's possible it will serve as a model for sustainable construction that aims to improve the health and wellbeing of local communities, as well as provide the framework for an adaptable, eco-friendly building method that can be universally accepted. Cucinella is, after all, the founder of the School of Sustainability, and his work on the TECLA stems from research done in conjunction with students at London’s Architectural Association. Going green never looked so good.

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