Prototype low-cost house is 3D-printed using mud
We've been following the work of Italian 3D-printing firm WASP (World's Advanced Saving Project) for some time and have previously reported on its Big Delta and clay and straw shelter projects. Its latest creation is its most fascinating to date though, and consists of a 3D-printed hut that's built using a mud mixture and was produced for just €900 (roughly US$1,000).
Specifically, Gaia's mud mix consists of 25 percent soil taken from the build site in Italy, 40 percent straw, 25 percent rice husk and 10 percent lime. The resulting compound is used for the walls, but the roof is timber and the foundations are actually 3D-printed concrete.
It was built, with help from a firm called Rice House, using the same 3D printer that produced WASP's previous projects. The construction process was very similar to other 3D-printed projects we've previously reported on, and involved extruding the mud mixture out of a nozzle in layers, while slowly building up the structure.
The hut features a window and a glazed door, and its 20 sq m (215 sq ft) interior, though basic, actually looks quite pleasant, with the wood and clay finish giving the place a clean look. WASP reports that it's well insulated and will perform well in heat and cold.
It's still early days in the project yet though. Gaia took a considerable 10 days to build and doesn't actually contain any furniture, nor a bathroom, or bedroom, for example. Additionally, its €900 budget only covers the materials and not any labor costs, so the cost of producing it in normal conditions would be a lot higher.
That said, WASP told us that it's currently developing a new strategy with a view to building the homes in select developing countries, so perhaps the firm will be able to speed things up and keep costs reasonable as the project progresses.
Check out the video below for a look at the construction process.