Green earth walls from the 3D printer: Sustainable alternative to concrete

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A team of researchers and architects have managed to build real walls with the 3D printer. After a few weeks of care, they were even able to pick radishes from them.

The latest trend at Design Week in Jerusalem

A new installation was shown at Design Week in Jerusalem. It is called To Grow A Building and was developed by a team of designers.

The walls are built with a 3D printer. It consists of an oversized robotic arm connected to a computer. It prints with a mixture of soil and seeds. Everything that happens after that works exactly the same as it does outside in nature: if the seeds get enough water and light, they start to sprout and root themselves firmly in the earth. A small garden is created – just on the wall.

A complex process

An existing printer had to be hacked to produce the 3D printer. The team also built a custom pump and nozzle. The whole thing is needed because the organic material has both a different consistency and more structure compared to concrete.

When they could start printing, they started with wheat. Then they added various flowers and also vegetables. Finally, they watered it until they were finally able to pick radishes from the walls.

Green earth walls from the 3D printer: Sustainable alternative to concrete

Video: This is how the green walls are made of earth

For more natural materials in architecture

The designers didn’t want to develop an extraordinary decorative piece but rather create an opportunity to integrate more raw materials into the architecture. They particularly criticized the use of industrial rather than local resources. After all, concrete and steel account for as much as 22% of global emissions.

In order to build walls that are as strong as possible, you could make optimal use of the different types of plants and their roots. Researchers are trying to use math to figure out how best to combine them without the walls collapsing. But they are optimistic: next year, they even want to build a pavilion with this technology.

We are very excited to see what will become of the project.

Read also: Why you can conquer your wrinkles with the Lubrity EMS/RF LED

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