Mario Cucinella Architects



Project Details



Massa Lombarda / Italy



Year (Design/Construction):

2019 / 2021

Area (Net/Gross):

45 m2 / 60 m2
Operational Carbon emissions

Operational Carbon emissions (B6) kgCO2e/m2/y:

Embodied Carbon emissions

Embodied Carbon emissions (A1-A3) kgCO2e/m2:

  • The entire building envelope is 3D printed using locally sourced raw earth.
  • The composition of the earth mixture is optimised to balance thermal mass, insulation and ventilation according to the specific climate needs.
  • The furnishings are partly printed in local earth and integrated into the raw-earth structure and partly designed to be recycled or reused.
  • The building design can be finished within 200h of 3D printing, consuming less than 6kW.

Project description as provided by the Architects.

Located in Massa Lombarda (Ravenna, Italy), TECLA has become a reality thanks to the eco-sustainability research of the SOS – School of Sustainability (training center founded by Mario Cucinella), the pioneering research projects of Mario Cucinella Architects and the collaborative 3D printing technology of WASP.

TECLA is an innovative circular housing model that brings together research on vernacular construction practices, the study of bioclimatic principles and the use of natural and local materials. It is a nearly zero-emission project: its casing and the use of an entirely local material allows for the reduction of waste and scraps. This and the use of raw earth make TECLA a pioneering example of low-carbon housing.

For this project, Mario Cucinella Architects not only explored housing solutions in formal aesthetic terms, it also studied the building’s shape in relation to its climate and latitude. In addition, the composition of the earth mixture responds to local climatic conditions and the filling of the envelope is parametrically optimised to balance thermal mass, insulation and ventilation according to the climate needs.

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 atypical shape, from the geometry to the external ridges, has enabled the structural balance of the construction – both during the 3D printing phase of the envelope and once the covering is completed – giving life to an organic and visually coherent design.

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 – partly printed in local earth and integrated into the raw-earth structure, and partly designed to be recycled or reused – reflect the philosophy of a circular house model.

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 which therefore makes it possible to build independent housing modules in a few days.

In brief: 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 an average consumption of less than 6 kW.

Architectural and Furniture Design: Mario Cucinella Architects

Collaborative 3D Printing Technology Project: WASP

Institutional Partner: Comune di Massa Lombarda, Ravenna, Italy

Sustainability Research: SOS – School of Sustainability

Doors and Windows: Capoferri Serramenti

Mechanical and Electrical Services: Cefla

Landscape Design: Frassinago

Timber Fittings: Imola Legno

Lighting Design: Lucifero’s

Infilling Blend Optimisation in 3D Printing Phase: Mapei

Construction Geometry Optimisation for Self-Supporting Structure: Milan Ingegneria

Recycled Cardboard Seating: Officine Tamborrino

Recycled Fabrics: Orange Fiber

Earthen Flooring: Primat

Infilling Biomaterial (rice husk and rice straw from rice cultivation waste): Rice House

Construction (together with WASP): Ter Costruzioni

Photography: Iago Corazza

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