discover the interiors of TECLA, a 3D-printed home made of clay by mario cucinella + WASP

Apr 15, 2021

mario cucinella architects and WASP have completed ‘TECLA’ — a 3D-printed habitat made entirely from raw earth. built in massa lombarda, italy, the experimental dwelling, which was previously featured on designboom here, proposes a sustainable habitat that can be 3D-printed in a small fraction of the time required by traditional processes, while also significantly reducing waste and emissions. following the completion of the structure, the practice has unveiled the first images of its warm interiors.

dubbed ‘TECLA’, after an imaginary city described by writer italo calvino, the name is also a portmanteau of ‘technology’ and ‘clay’ — referring to the construction material. in fact, this raw earth material is a blend between soil found onsite, water, rice husk, and a binder which only takes 5% of the whole composition. 3D-printing with clay ensures that the dwelling can be built anywhere in the world using local resources, particularly in rural areas where it’s not easy to find construction materials.

built to adapt to multiple environments, the habitat will also be suitable for self-production through the use of WASP’s ‘maker economy starter kit’. this approach will limit industrial waste and offer a sustainable model that seeks to boost national and local economies — thus improving the well-being of communities. furthermore, 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.

‘we like to think that TECLA is the beginning of a new story,’ explains mario cucinella, founder and creative director of mario cucinella architects. ‘it would be truly extraordinary to shape the future by transforming this ancient material with the technologies we have available today. the aesthetics of this house are the result of a technical and material effort; it was not an aesthetic approach only. it is an honest form, a sincere form.’

the prototype built in italy is an example of how this concept might evolve. it is composed of two interlocking domes and features a living open-space area and a bedroom space equipped with a small toilet. outside, a small lake collects waste and rain waters to be reused for the garden, while another cell with solar and thermal panels provides clean energy to the structure, and thus potentially making go of it a fully off-grid home. see designboom’s previous coverage of the project under construction here.

project info:

name: TECLA architectural design and project management: mario cucinella architects engineering and 3D printing construction: WASP

in collaboration with — research partner: SOS – school of sustainability materials consultancy and supply: mapei structural consultancy: milan ingegneria frames engineering and production: capoferri bio-materials consultancy and supply: ricehouse landscaping: frassinago lighting design: lucifero’s energy and internal comfort consultancy: ariatta timber solutions consultancy and supply: imola legno earthen floor supply: primat • terracruda electrical solutions supply: cefla

under the patronage of: municipality of massa lombarda sponsored by: ter costruzioni