3D Printing

Can we build a house for $1000 with 3D printed soil?

An Open Thesis Program at the Instititue for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) has just produced a way to 3D print buildings from soil and is now looking for a commercial partner to take it into the real world.

At the IN(3D)USTRY show in Barcelona, Pylos issued an open call to investors, venture capitalists and commercial partners to join them in developing this groundbreaking tech. We don’t think they’ll be waiting long.

Pylos, 3D printing a house from soil

A house for $1000?

It is just huge news as it means that we can build basic houses from native soil for just $1000. That could dramatically alter the landscape in poorer nations. This one discovery could, at a stroke, provide housing for the underprivileged, change the construction industry as a whole and reduce costs, material transport and environmental damage.

Pylos grew out of the research of Sofoklis Giannakopoulos. He has worked on the concept for years, supported by the IAAC, and he was determined to create a natural, cheap, biodegradable, strong and unbaked material from the ground we walk on every day.

Giannakopoulos has already printed a number of structural units up to two metres tall and has all the components in place to create a house. Now Pylos is looking for commercial partners to test the theory in the real world and potentially change the construction industry overnight.

Soil houses can change the world

We always knew that turning soil into a viable 3D printed construction material could change the world. Man has built with soil since Neolithic times and it was always a great material that offers insulation, weather-proofing, fire protection, air circulation and the potential to recycle the whole structure.

Soil even has a natural thermal flywheel effect. That means it stores heat in the day and slowly releases it at night to reach a point of equilibrium with the environment and vice versa. That means it provides a basic form of storage heating and air-conditioning.

Soil has so many advantages, but of course it was clumsy to work with and simply did not fit the modern ethos of a building.

Stone and then bricks took over, but with 3D printing showing the way forward it was only a matter of time before someone found a solution to use soil as the base material. Now Pylos has created a compound that contains 96% standard soil, which produces a finished material that has a tensile strength three times higher than that of industrial clay.
Pylos produces structural beams and walls from soil


Every soil is different

Of course every soil is different and it’s an essential part of the process to produce additives that work with a wide range of soils. This solution has to work in remote areas, it has to be repeatable and it has to work with base materials with very different characteristics.

One of the main advantages of the whole process is the complete removal of material transports. That will make a massive difference to the overall price of a build project, which in turn will have a major impact on its effectiveness in the real world. So it has to work with the soil that is there.

Changing the lives of millions

There’s a lot of testing ahead, but if we really can print stable houses from unbaked soil and a few choice additives then the whole construction industry just changed. This is one of those discoveries that could have a profound effect on the world, it could give the poor in this world the chance to enjoy proper housing, schools and even hospitals and it could change the lives of millions.

Don’t underestimate it. This really is that important and we’re sure the commercial partners will come thick and fast for a discovery that could change everything.

They are

More on this topic5D Printing?