On December 9th 2022, the team of the Postgraduate in 3D Printing Architecture (3DPA) attended the Final Symposium of Living Prototypes, held in Berlin at the ANCB The Aedes Metropolitan Laboratory

The Symposium, followed by the opening of the exhibition “LIVING PROTOTYPES: Digital Fabrication with Biomaterials” that will be on display until the 25th of January 2023, showcases the outcome of an 18 months research collaboration on digital fabrication in building with bio-based materials.

The digitally fabricated prototypes for building components, made with the bio-based materials earth, flax fibre and bioplastics, were developed in a European research project, instigated and guided by ANCB The Aedes Metropolitan Laboratory and funded by the Zukunft Bau programme of the German Ministry for Housing, Urban Development and Building” – ANCB


Living Prototypes Exhibition Opening. Image by Hendrik Benz.

The Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia in Barcelona (Earth), alongside its industry partner WASP from Massa Lombarda, collaborated with CITA from the Royal Danish Academy in Copenhagen (Bioplastics) and ITKE from the University of Stuttgart (Flax Fibre) respectively with industry partners COBOD from Copenhagen and FibR from Kernen. More about the collaborative project in IAAC’s first article.

Image credits: Yara Tayoun (left), Hendrik Benz (right).

Resulting from years of collaboration, IAAC and WASP employ 3d printing and computational design to improve the structural and climate-regulation performance of earth constructions, while unabling architectural design flexibility and adaptability to various environments worldwide, in an aim to democratise the in-situ construction of locally-sourced performative habitats.

To this end, the first phase of the Living Prototypes project unlocked the construction of TOVA, a first in housing prototypes made out of earth, at IAAC’s Valldaura Labs campus.

As the outcome of these collaborations and parallel research renders possible a bio-based future for building components, IAAC 3DPA’s programme is now equipped to tackle the fabrication of larger buildings in accordance with the global construction market’s requirements for the coming decades.

With this vision in mind, IAAC and ITKE have been collaborating in the context of the Living Prototypes project, and see a clear potential in the constructive assemblies of earth 3d printed walls and fibre reinforced slabs for architectural applications. In the course of a one week workshop, the programme’s students received live consultancy and guidance from ITKE’s team led by research associate Tzu-Ying Chen. 

The methodology, based on 3DPA’s performative design approach, led to the design of a 10 storey building of a maximal 10x15m footprint, composed of clay walls and flax-fibre reinforced slabs.

Image credits: ITKE University of Stuttgart, Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design and IAAC Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, 3DPA 2022-23.

Fabrication and Installation

Notwithstanding the advantages of on-site earth 3d printing demonstrated by 3DPA’s latest building prototype, Living Prototypes’ pavilion is the product of prefabricated components in three different building materials, showcasing the future of a circular and sustainable construction. IAAC’s earthen columns were printed in Barcelona and transported to Berlin, where they were attached to ITKE Stuttgart’s flax fibre and timber slabs. CITA’s cellulose wall elements close the loop on a floor-to-ceiling 1:1 scale demonstrator on the promising future of construction with biomaterials and digital fabrication methods.

Production of the 3D printed earth columns ahead of the final Symposium. IAAC Main Campus, Barcelona.

Living Prototypes Final Symposium and Exhibition

During the final symposium and exhibition opening of Living Prototypes: Digital Fabrication With Biomaterials, 3DPA’s co-director, Alexandre Dubor, presented the research on earth 3d printing done at IAAC, as well as the process leading to the successful collaborative prototype, exhibited until the 25th of January 2023, at the Aedes Architecture Forum, Christinenstr. 18-19, 10119 Berlin.

3D Printed Earth Presentation by Alexandre Dubor during the Living Prototypes Final Symposium (left), Round Table moderated by Prof. Ingrid Halland with Moritz Dörstelmann, Arnd Rose, Jan Knippers, Martin Tamke and Oriol Carrasco. Images by Yara Tayoun.

Following presentations by the three institutions, Oriol Carrasco, IAAC’s senior fabrication expert and 3DPA Faculty, took part in a panel discussion alongside Moritz Dörstelmann – FibR GmbH, Kernen – Jan Knippers,  ITKE – Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design, University of Stuttgart, Martin Tamke, CITA – Centre for Information Technology and Architecture, Royal Danish Academy, Copenhagen and Massimo Visonà, WASP, Massa Lombarda.

Moderated by keynote speaker Prof. Ingrid Halland, the discussion tackled the urgent responsibility we have in reducing the construction sector’s carbon footprint, the political and educational role research institutions as well as curating laboratories have in challenging industries and law makers towards meeting the climate-neutral building stock goal set for 2045. Full symposium can be watched here

Living Prototypes is a 1:1 scale installation around a typical 1 bedroom floorplan, showcasing various building components made of 3d printed earth, flax fibre winding slabs and bioplastic printed walls.

Living Prototypes exhibition details. Image by Hendrik Benz.


3DPA contribution to Living Prototypes made possible thanks to the efforts of a great team at IAAC:

3DPA Staff 

Edouard Cabay, Alexandre Dubor, Oriol Carrasco, Ashkan Foroughi, Yara Tayoun, Secil Afsar, Aslinur Taskin, Vincent Huyghe, Eduardo Chamorro, Lili Tayefi, Elisabetta Carnevale, Guillem Baraut, Gloria Font basté, Josep Alcover.

3DPA Students 2021-22

Adel Alatassi, Aslinur Taskin, Charles Musyoki, Deena El-Mahdy, Eugene Marais, Hendrik Benz, Juliana Rodriguez-Torres, Leonardo Bin, Mariam Arwa Al-Hachami, Marwa Abdelrehim, Mehdi Harrak, Michelle Bezik, Michelle Antonietta Isoldi Campinho, Mouad Laalou, Nareh Khaloian, Nawaal Saksouk, Orestis Pavlidis, Sammar Allam, Seni Dara

3DPA Students 2022-23

Abanoub Abdou Mikhail, Adrian Ionut Patrascu, Ali Salamatian, Dnyaneshwari Vithal Mete, Francisco Magnone, Huanyu Li, Jett Demol, Javad Norouzi, Kevin Mwangi, Kingsley Claudin, Mara Luisa Müller, Marina Nassif, Marta Navarro López, Milad Mehdizadeh, Mohamad Shazwan Mazlan, Nader Akoum, Nestor Beguin, Paco Pioline Sanchez, Teodora Moraru, Tinsae Tsegahun Mengistu


Colette, 3D WASP, BAC Engineering, SmartCitizen, UN-Habitat, Scuares. Living Prototypes (Zukunft Bau, BBSR, ANCB, ITKE, CITA, IAAC, Cobod, Fiber, Wasp) 

Special thanks

Areti Markopoulou, Mathilde Marengo, Ricardo Mayor, Shyam Zonca, Pilar Xiquez, Shreya Rangholia, Daniela Figueroa, Nikol Kirova, Erica Lago, Alice Puleo, Laura Ruggeri, Jorge Ramirez, Gabriel Frederick, Nicolas Rodriguez, Xavier Molons, Ariannet Arias, Jordi Guizán Bedoya, Lucas Fertig, Massimo Visiona, Massimo Moretti, Francesca Moretti, Martin Tamke, Dunya Bouchi, Áine Ryan, Tzu-Ying Chen, Giannis Moutevelis, André Aymonod


This project is supported by the Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development on behalf of the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community with funds from the research innovation programme Zukunft Bau.

Project Living Prototypes (2021-23)
Description Digital Fabrication Processes and Prototypes for Resource-Conscious Living Spaces
Call ZunkunnfBau 2021 (BBSR)
Total Funding 224.902,30 €
IAAC Department  Advanced Architecture Group
Website https://www.ancb.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=20224388#.YXBnqRpByHs