Introducing the 3D Printed Sustainable Home

January 26, 2015

Mud 1

Italian engineer, designer and architect Massimo Moretti has studied the way a wasp builds its home using many thin layers bonded together. He has taken what he has learned and created a process that builds structures using a 3D printer and specially prepared mud. He even calls the organization he created the World’s Advanced Saving Project, or “WASP”, for short. He says it is dedicated to making new housing more affordable, particularly in places where the most abundant resource may be the earth itself.

According to the WASP website, “Starting from the small format, we’re developing a printer capable of laying down clay, to then move onto a bigger printer for houses at a very low cost and rebuild slums into natural villas. Everything would be environmentally friendly using [earth] as a main material.”

Moretti and his team have been developing their 3D printing system for the past two years and hope to work their way up to a full scale, 20 foot tall, portable 3 armed printer that can be trucked to wherever it is needed to make a full size earth and mud house. Once the local earth is powdered, it is mixed with water and fed into the machine, which builds the walls layer by layer just like a wasp does in nature.

Because the printer is computer controlled, the shape of the finished 3d printed house can be anything the designer or resident wishes it to be. The finished structure is very strong and is, or course, about as eco-friendly as a building can be, being make mostly from the very earth it sits on.

He demonstrated his process using a smaller printer last year at the Maker Faire in Rome. “We have a big goal and we work every day on little things to achieve it,” says Moretti. “We first created [marketable] extruders for clay, porcelain and ceramic, to give the chance of producing objects which have functionality and commerce value. Thanks to clay printing, it is possible to make a real self-made production that is practical and commerciable.”


Scale Models of 3D Printed Homes

Mud 2

Source | Photos: Inhabitat.



Stephen Hanley

lives in Rhode Island and writes about topics at the convergence of technology and ecology. You can follow him on Google + and Twitter.