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3D-printed house design looks like a gorgeous human-sized ant mound

The first TECLA house is currently being printed in Italy

Rendering of person laying on bed in 3d-printed home with curvy brown walls and a round skylight up top. Mario Cucinella Architects

In recent years, architects have become fascinated with 3D-printing. Often heralded as affordable and sustainable, 3D-printed homes are beginning to spring up everywhere from the Netherlands to Long Island, NY. These dwellings take different forms—sinuous and modern, alien and pod-like, minimalist and compact—depending on the exact kind of technology used to print them.

A new kind of 3D-printed house is currently taking shape outside of Bologna, Italy, and its makers think it could be the future of sustainable 3D-printed architecture. Called the TECLA, the house is built from clay extruded into an elegant mound shape. It’s the work of Mario Cucinella, an architect who founded the School of Sustainability and helped develop the printer technology behind the project.

A close up of the extruded layers of mud that make up the structure of the home. Mario Cucinella Architects
Rendering of people inside 3d-printed home at night. Mario Cucinella Architects

Last month, designers started printing the house via the Crane WASP, a modular printer that can extrude cement, bio cement, natural dough into the shape of a house (see the previous house it printed). In the case of TECLA, the house will be built from local clay, which gives the home a modern mud hut feel.

Renderings show a curvy, cave-like space with a portal-like window at the top of the arc to let in light. The design is equal parts elegant and bare bones, as if you’re living in a human-sized ant mound with really good furniture. Designboom reports that the first TECLA started printing in September and will be completed by the beginning of 2020.