sustainable interiors: touring a raw earth 3d printed house

in sustainable interiors

Sustainable design solutions take many forms, and some of the most fascinating arise when long-lived tradition meets cutting-edge technology.

TECLA is a prototype project that merges the traditional use of clay as a building material with one of the most forward-looking technologies of our times: 3D printing.

View of TECLA from the outside.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Mario Cucinella Architects (opened in a new window/tab) - Ph: Iago Corazza

tradition meets technology

TECLA – a name in between technology and clay – is 3D printed with raw earth sourced on site.

The biggest advantage of 3D printing is that of being an additive method. This implies that the material used is strictly what’s necessary with no offcuts or leftovers generated during the process. 3D printing is also much faster than traditional building methods and allows for construction to happen entirely on site.

Speaking of the site; sourcing clay locally means reducing the impact of material transportation while providing a building solution that can adapt to virtually any environment.

Visualization of TECLA housing in a hot and dry climate.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Mario Cucinella Architects (opened in a new window/tab)
Visualization of TECLA housing in a cold and snowy.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Mario Cucinella Architects (opened in a new window/tab)

a sustainable building model

TECLA showcases a sustainable building model that is almost zero-carbon and closed-loop by design.

The almost-zero carbon milestone is achieved thanks to the choice of materials plus careful design decisions.
The dome shape has been chosen to respond to the local climate, and the envelope structure accounts for water drainage and self-shading. Being made of clay, the external shell offers great climate control, and it's printed leaving pockets for insulation (made of rice husks) and infill ventilation, ensuring both efficiency and healthiness.

Moving to the circular properties of the design, the entire structure is both recyclable and biodegradable, offering a radical response to one of the biggest problems of the construction industry: the end-of-life phase.

View of the interior, with a tree growing in the middle of the room.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Mario Cucinella Architects (opened in a new window/tab) - Ph: Iago Corazza
View of the tree from the ground up.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Mario Cucinella Architects (opened in a new window/tab) - Ph: Iago Corazza

the interior

There isn’t a single straight line in this house. The interior spaces – that include living, kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom – flow into one another in an organic whole. Following the same concept, interior doors are replaced with curtains, suggesting a fluid intersection of uses.

Two skylights let natural light in and open a view right into the sky. Being operable, they also provide ventilation, while a wooden shading system prevents glare and overheating.

Furnishings are minimal yet functional, and some of them are 3D printed like the outer shell. Both sofa and bed are a literal extension of the building structure, with cushions added on top. The kitchen base and bathroom vanity are also 3D printed, resulting in an unconventionally beautiful curved design.
In the middle of the kitchen-living space lives a real tree, that makes its way through the dining table, reaching the ceiling right under the skylight.

Scheme of the building structure and interior layout.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Mario Cucinella Architects (opened in a new window/tab)
View of the open living area.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Mario Cucinella Architects (opened in a new window/tab) - Ph: Iago Corazza
View of the bedroom.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Mario Cucinella Architects (opened in a new window/tab)
View of the living space at night.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Mario Cucinella Architects (opened in a new window/tab)
View of the bathroom.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Mario Cucinella Architects (opened in a new window/tab) - Ph: Iago Corazza

a solution for the future

TECLA wants to be an example of sustainable architecture for the future.

Besides the material aspect, this includes a strong social perspective.
Using only local materials, able to adapt to diverse climatic conditions, and relying on a fast and local building process (that opens to self-manufacturing thanks to a ready-made building kit), TECLA has the potential to empower local communities around the globe. For example, it would be a way to respond sustainably to housing shortages caused by climate change and massive migrations.

In the words of the architect, TECLA is “a home that finds an answer for the Earth in the earth”. A powerful statement that highlights the value of turning to nature for solutions that benefit her and us at once.

 
 
Design: Mario Cucinella Architects (opened in a new window/tab) + WASP (opened in a new window/tab)

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