Going directly head to head with low-cost, eco-friendly temporary housing from the likes of IKEA, Italian production company WASP (World's Advanced Saving Project) has just debuted a $1,000 3D printed tiny house—and it's made of materials as old as civilization itself.
The affordable, low-carbon, one-room modular tiny home design dubbed "Gaia" was developed by WASP using a proprietary modular printing system and a sort of concrete made of mud, rice husks, and straw—leading Treehugger to dub the designers as "modern-primitive pioneers".
Gaia's eco-friendly architectural strategy uses passive solar heating, natural ventilation, thermo-acoustic insulation, fixtures, and protective coatings plus materials made from locally sourced soil, rice husks, and straw in partnership with RiceHouse, an organization on a mission to reuse the waste from rice cultivation. For its debut building run, WASP began building a whole "technical village" called Shamballa in 2016 in Massa Lombarda, Italy—just 45 minutes southeast of Bologna—by printing each Gaia home in just 10 days and for a total cost of $1,035 USD.
"The 'mud wasp' is our model of development, a perfect approach to build low-cost houses [using] natural materials [sourced] at zero kilometres," Massimo Moretti, CEO of WASP, recently told Smart Cities World news.
Pitching the project as part of the burgeoning "circular economy", WASP and Shamballa will also help residents grow their own food, make their own products, tools and furniture all using 3-D printing, as well. WASP will be presenting Gaia as a "Maker Economy Starter Kit" project at Maker Faire Rome this month, claiming it's the first 3-D printed soil module ever realized with the help of "masonry" made of not just soil and rice effluent but compost from consumer food waste, as well. Attendees will be able to tour the interiors and even touch the walls.
To read more about Gaia and Shamballa, check out the WASP website.