Architecture – TECLA is an innovative circular housing model that brings together research on traditional construction practices, the study of bioclimatic principles and the use of natural and local materials such as raw earth. Developed by MCA – Mario Cucinella Architects and WASP, the nearly zero-emission project reduces waste and scraps in the name of low-carbon housing.
“TECLA shows that a beautiful, healthy, and sustainable home can be built by a machine, giving the essential information to the local raw material.” Says Mario Cucinella. The house was inspired by an imaginary metropolis wrapped in an uninterrupted scaffolding in Italo Calvino’s masterpiece Invisible Cities.
With an area of about 60 square meters, it comprises a living zone with a kitchen and a night zone which includes services. The furnishings are partly printed in local earth and integrated into the raw-earth structure and partly designed to be recycled or reused.
Located in Massa Lombarda, Italy, TECLA has become a reality thanks to the eco-sustainability research of the SOS – School of Sustainability, the training center founded by Mario Cucinella, the pioneering research projects of Mario Cucinella Architects and the collaborative 3D printing technology of WASP, led by Massimo Moretti.
TECLA is a composition of two continuous elements that, through a sinuous and uninterrupted sine curve, culminate in two circular skylights that convey the ‘zenith light.’ The composition of the earth mixture responds to local climatic conditions. The filling of the envelope is parametrically optimised to balance thermal mass, insulation and ventilation according to the climate needs.
In figures, TECLA can be delivered with 200 hours of printing, 7000 machine codes (G-code), 350 12 mm layers, 150 km of extrusion, 60 cubic meters of natural materials for average consumption of less than 6 kW.
The technological research of WASP, specialised in Km0 3D printing from raw earth, has led to an innovative 3D printing technology called Crane WASP, the first in the world to be modular and multilevel, designed to build construction works collaboratively.
TECLA uses two synchronised printer arms simultaneously, thanks to software capable of optimising movements, avoiding collisions and ensuring streamlined operation. Each printer unit has a printing area of 50 square meters, making it possible to build independent housing modules in a few days.
All pictures by Iago Corazza – Courtesy of MCA Mario Cucinella Architects.