The Terramia pavilions are innovative emergency housing prototypes, uniquely combining digital fabrication and natural, local materials. The project consists of three doubly-curved shells, constructed from a bending-active formwork of locally sourced bamboo culms and CNC-cut jute fabric, and sprayed with a clay/sand mortar mix, reinforced with rice husks, an agricultural byproduct. The lifting and releasing of the jute fabric, the external spraying of the mortar, and blowing of additional rice husk was executed by aerial drones, thus avoiding any need for ladders or scaffolding. Summum provided parametric modelling and structural engineering, and supported the design process as well as construction on site.

Stephanie Chaltiel, of MuDD Architects, Barcelona, has been investigating the use of digital technologies in conjunction with earth construction, with research developed through the Innochain network. One of the outcomes is the ongoing “bioshotcrete” project, which borrows principles of shotcrete and wattle and daub while using exclusively natural local materials and making the most of robotic and drone technology. Large robots or drones are deployed in order to spray different layers of clay mix (daub) on a lightweight formwork (wattle). The work is continuing in the form of increasingly ambitious applied workshops and prototypes. The use of wattle and daub poses challenges in the context of contemporary building codes and construction practices.

For the Isola Design District, part of the Salone del Mobile or Milan Design Week, 9-14 april 2019, Chaltiel has been invited to design and construct three pavilions, based on her winning competition entry, demonstrating innovative emergency housing prototypes, and based on her ongoing research on bioshotcrete. The pavilions are located in the inner courtyard of the Regione Lombardia Headquarters in Milan. The structures highlight that affordable and fast construction method can lead to quality housing, and transform emergency housing from typically lightweight fabric into a system that is robust and durable. Summum Engineering was invited by, and collaborated with MuDD architects and CanyaViva during the design and development process, provided the structural engineering for the pavilions, and assisted during construction on site.


    Location: Milan, Italy
    Time: 2019
    Status: Completed, disassembled
    Project area: ca. 200 m2

    Services: Structural design and engineering, parametric modelling, construction



    Main sponsors
    Regione Lombardia, Italy
    Minerali Industriali, Italy
    MuDD Architects, Spain

    Gabriele Cavallaro, Maria La Piana | Blank, Italy

    Concept and research
    Stephanie Chaltiel | Innochain

    Design and modelling team
    Stephanie Chaltiel, Fabio Gatti | MuDD Architects, Spain
    Jonathan Cory-Wright | CanyaViva, Spain
    Diederik Veenendaal, Francesco Verzura | Summum Engineering

    Structural engineering
    Diederik Veenendaal, Francesco Verzura | Summum Engineering

    Gavin Sayers, Edoardo Tibuzzi | AKT II, UK

    Jonathan Cory-Wright | CanyaViva, Spain (bamboo)
    Michaël Daris | RC Take Off, Belgium (drone)
    Sebastien Goessens | Université catholique de Louvain (UCL), Belgium (drone)
    Euromair, France (pump)
    Francesco Verzura | Summum Engineering

    Construction volunteers
    Nadia Avezzano, Alessandra Benigno, Miriam Ceravolo, Michele Francia, Giulia Rosa, Mark Witte

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