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Building with earth materials

A sustainable combination of tradition and modernity

3 March 2023

For the first time, the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) has 3D-printed an earthen building in Spain. The shelter, named Tova, is located in Valldaura Labs on the outskirts of Barcelona and constitutes a prototype that combines traditional manufacturing (vernacular earthen architecture) with modern technology.

The construction, which was completed with a WASP printer, took seven weeks. Materials were sourced within a 50-meter radius around the hut. The available earthen materials were mixed with additives and enzymes to achieve the required structural integrity and material elasticity. The foundation is made of geopolymer, and the roof is based on a wooden structure. To ensure the longevity of the material in terms of its weather resistance, a waterproof coating made of raw materials such as aloe and egg white is being added.

The project was developed as part of the 3DPA postgraduate research program at IAAC. The aim of this course is to train young architects and academics for the future of construction and to explore the possibilities of 3D printing in this field. Here, Tova is said to be just the beginning: The researchers hope the project will serve as a model for other construction projects around the world.


  • Sustainability
  • Additive Manufacturing
  • Construction and architecture