In building and construction, 3D printing is the hot new trend. This is the absolute cutting edge of technology and the newest, latest thing out there. One of the oldest building materials ever used is clay, mud hardened by the sun and sometimes fired in kilns. One group of postgraduates decided to bring these two techniques together to design something truly incredible.

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Exterior of TOVA

Built by professionals and postgraduates at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, the end result is TOVA, the first prototype made of clay using 3D printing techniques in Spain. TOVA is built with sustainable materials and clay that was obtained on site. The substructure is made of polymers and the roof is made with wood.

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3D-printed prototype made of clay

The walls are made to be braced with T and L joints and not traditional straight lines. Therefore, this creates a textured, wavy exterior that mimics natural water currents and shapes found in nature. The curving lines, the gentle angles and the sloping shapes create a beautiful overall design that fits in with the landscape and looks like it’s a part of it.

TOVA near greenery

The design is simple but elegant and practical. In fact, it’s a perfect blend of ancient and modern building techniques. Clay is also sustainable and it is one of the oldest building materials ever discovered. Combined with the latest technology, clay becomes an amazing, modern material that’s exactly what the world needs right now as more people look to sustainable building solutions.

Close up of the building structure

In addition, the sloping roof is designed for rainwater to slide right off. Gravel drainage also catches the excess water. The framed, insulated ceiling prevents heat loss and cooling loss to provide better overall temperature control.

Process of building the prototype

Inside, there’s room for a foldaway bed. A window then lights up the space and the walls are made with ventilation holes to bring in the fresh air and create a cool, airy space.

Meanwhile, nature provides the perfect setting. Around the prototype, tall trees and natural grasses sway in the wind. It’s a great example of what ancient techniques, modern tech and sustainable thinking can achieve.

+ Posgrado 3D Printing Architecture IAAC

Images via Gregori Civera