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tova phase I, IAAC (Link)| architecture, research


Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, Spain


TOVA is the first building made with earth and a 3D printer in Spain, a project born from the ongoing research conducted by IAAC to find new ways of facing the social and environmental challenges of the future. The construction has been carried out at the Valldaura Labs facilities, on the outskirts of Barcelona.

The construction took 7 weeks time to complete, a Crane WASP, the architectural 3D printer and km zero materials as the materials were sourced within a 50 meter radius. The structure is made of local earth, mixed with additives and enzymes, to ensure the structural integrity and material elasticity necessary for optimized 3d printing of the house. The foundation is made of geopolymer and the roof, wooden construction.

To ensure the longevity of the material in resistance to weather, a waterproof coating is added using raw extracted materials such as aloe and egg whites.

The design of the building takes into account the climatic conditions of the Mediterranean: the volume is compact to protect from the cold in winter, but expandable during the other three seasons of the year, allowing the use of the immediate outdoor surroundings. The walls are made up of a network of cavities that contain airflow and straw insulation to prevent heat loss in winter and protect from solar radiation in summer.

It is a near-zero emissions project: its shell and the use of an entirely local material allow the reduction of waste, making it a pioneering example of low-carbon building, given that current construction methods are responsible for 36 % of CO2 emissions.