Ever since the Neolithic period,mud has been an important building material. Looking at more recent times, most of our ancestral homes were either partly or entirely built out of Mud. Even today one third of human-kind live in earthen homes. This brings us to wonder how mud will transform itself in the future…
Welcome to the world of 3d printed mud homes, at this very moment there are select companies from around the world developing 3d printers to build homes out of Mud. This may perplex many, as mud is seldom seen as futuristic. It is often unjustly tagged outdated and inadequate. Yet, as an answer to the coveted Zero Energy solution, mud fights its way back to regain its rightful place.
A company called WASP in Italy has built its first prototype of a 3d-printed mud house. A mud mix of clay and fibres was used to print the structure. The mix was inspired from the ancient kasbahs in Morroco, which have withstood the test of time.
Another company IAAC in Catalonia,Spain have developed 3d printed Mud blocks with a complex structure that renders it light weight, durable and extremely resistant. The structure built from this can be seen in the cover photo.
The beauty of 3d printing is that it allows for extreme precision and hence complex forms can be printed making it more and more possible for us to mimic the forms in nature.
A few years from now buildings will stop glaring out of the natural landscape and will start to blend in, both in form and material. These structures will not only be environment friendly but will naturally be resistant to calamities such as earthquakes etc.
One of the strongest and most complex dwellings found in nature are those of termites, the master-builders of mud. The complex vaults and arches in their dwellings are almost impossible to replicate but 3d printers could definitely bring us closer to such intricacy and finesse.
In today’s race to improvise and optimize, a lot of money and time goes into inventing new materials from microchip walls to various families of plastic. May be the answer is much simpler, may be we just need to go back to the basics – Earth, Fire, Air and Water.