Inspired by Case Study Houses, WATG Urban Builds the First Freeform 3-D Printed Home
WATG Urban claimed first prize in the 2016 Freeform Home Design Challenge, commissioned by Branch Technology to build the first house that combines freeform 3-D printing with conventional construction materials. Despite its futuristic contours, Curve Appeal, as it’s called, is actually inspired by the past: Case Study Houses—but using technology those mid-century architects could only imagine. “We definitely carried the inside-outside concept through from the Case Studies,” associate vice president and design director Christopher Hurst says.
The arched profile arises not merely from aesthetics but also practicality, as the shape of the rigid printed matrix is designed to support the roof load, allowing for large open-plan living areas underneath. Floor-to-ceiling glass walls harness natural light, while a passive mechanical system enables the 900-square-foot structure to produce as much energy as it consumes.
The real celebration begins later this year with a groundbreaking in Chattanooga. Believing that architecture should coexist harmoniously with the environment, a wooded site was chosen just steps from the Tennessee River. Hurst adds, “It gives the house humanity.”