TECLA, a 3D-printed habitat for sustainable living, is under construction in italy

TECLA, a 3D-printed habitat for sustainable living, is under construction in italy

mario cucinella architects and WASP, italian specialists in 3D-printing, have begun the construction of TECLA — a prototype for a 3D-printed habitat. currently under construction near bologna, italy, the project responds to pressing societal issues such as exponential population increase and a lack of affordable accommodation. created using entirely reusable, recyclable materials taken from the local terrain, TECLA is a new circular housing model described as ‘a step-change in the move towards eco-housing’.

tecla 3d-printed habitat
image © mario cucinella architects (also main image)



designed by mario cucinella architects and engineered and built by WASP, TECLA will be the first house to be entirely 3D-printed using locally sourced clay — a biodegradable and recyclable material that will effectively make the building zero-waste. built using crane WASP, TECLA — named after an imaginary city described by writer italo calvino — will be the first habitat to be built using multiple collaborative 3D-printers, offering a greater scope of scale than ever before.

tecla 3d-printed habitat
image © mario cucinella architects



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.

tecla 3d-printed habitat
image © WASP



the design was developed using research research undertaken by the SOS — school of sustainability — an institution founded by mario cucinella. the research, conducted with the support of students from the architectural association in london, explored the cause and effects of homelessness, based on case studies in locations with different climates. the result is a highly flexible envelope, designed to be resilient to any climate and energy-efficient in ways that traditional housing models are not. TECLA commenced printing in september 2019, and is expected to complete at the beginning of 2020.

image © WASP

image © WASP

image © WASP

image © WASP

image © WASP

image © mario cucinella architects

image © mario cucinella architects



project info:


architectural design and 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 consultant: ariatta:
under the patronage of: municipality of massa lombarda
sponsored by: ter costruzioni

  • Great concept! New technology leads to new ideas and designs. Why build rectangles with a system that can make any shape?

    raymondo says:
  • Love the concept! I think they need to go one step further and vary the material for interior finishes vs exterior. That rough interior wall looks like a nasty wasp hive – pun intended. They need to develop another mixture of clay that’s finer/smoother to the touch for the inside layer.

    Josh says:
  • So, four or more months to build a single family igloo with no window (just one skylight for all that space?), no light, no way to install electrical and hydraulic plants if not outside of the walls or breaking that texture created by the printing process? Looks like a logistic nightmare to live in there too. And good luck finding affordable furniture that fits.
    I think 3D printing must be integrated in the process of building, but pretending that a solution like this could “solve the housing problems” is like saying that once we build a car body then we have a great car. Wheels? Engine? Seats?
    Also, single family homes are surely the less sustainable way to supply house for people. Just the soil consumption for installing only 1.000 of these houses is clearly already the less sustainable way to build a city. For example, the logistic nightmare for public transport of Los Angeles didn’t teach anything?
    3D printing is great and will be part of the future of construction, but examples like these are the wrong ones, in my opinion.
    They can just be taken as experiments to show a part of it, to be integrated in a complete design process that involves all the connections and interactions that every building require.

    Io Lamia says:
  • I want to live in that world. A world in which “profit” is an afterthought, while quality of life is front and center.

    Abstract Cure says:

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