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posted 05 July 2016 at 13:55:20

A Spanish organisation has unveiled a method of 3D printing buildings from soil for just $1,000 per building, and is now looking for investment partners to turn the groundbreaking technology into a business.

The Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) announced that it was looking for commercial backing for its Pylos printer at the IN(3D)USTRY Show in Barcelona. If successful, Pylos could have a dramatic impact on poor and developing nations, where soil is plentiful but precious little else is.

The new 3D printing method is the brainchild of IAAC researcher Sofoklis Giannakopoulos, who has been looking at ways of producing inexpensive, natural, strong, locally sourced and biodegradable unbaked materials for many years. He and his team have already printed several buildings of up to two metres in height and Giannakopoulos says he has all the components ready to print a house from soil.

Every soil is different and one of the crucial elements of the project is to create additives that will work with the soil anywhere on Earth. 'Soil can be recycled an indefinite number of times over an extremely long period,' says Giannakopoulos. 'In addition, old dry loam can be reused after soaking in water, so loam never becomes a waste material that harms the environment.' 

The IAAC's biggest breakthrough, perhaps, is that the Pylos negates the need to transport materials to any building site, as the basic material is already there – literally – on the ground. This is one of the most exciting developments in 3D printing in recent years and, if it works, its impact could change the lives of millions of the world's poorest people for the better.

You can finds out more about Pylos at