Exosteel Mother Nature – The world’s first steel 3D printed structure of modular houses

Exosteel Mother Nature

Exosteel “Mother Nature” Modular Prefabricated Living Museum Houses

MASK Architects has designed the world’s first steel 3D printed structure of modular houses for Nivola Museum’s visitors,Tourists and Artists in Orani, city of Sardinia.Öznur Pınar Çer and Danilo Petta have Inspired from the work of “Costantino Nivola“, they have designed “Exosteel Mother Nature” modular houses which they have taken inspiration from him sculpture called the “La Madre”.

The studio is the first architecture and design studio in the world to use a steel 3D printed “exoskeleton” construction system that supports and distributes all the functional elements of the building, using their new solution of construction technique which they called “EXOSTEEL“.

The house is composed firstly by a hollow central column inserted for one / third of its length into the ground and by various organic branches that support the three floors of the building. On each floor a perimeter frame divides and supports the facades made up of panels modeled to follow the organic shape of the house.

“Madre Natura ” or known as “Mother Nature” will be the name given to this project and development. When we look at the Neolithic Period of Sardinia, they prayed for “Dea Madre ” throughout their culture, it’s the concept and idea of the Mediterranean. The heart of the Earth and all its nature is known as mother. Like a mother, we want to raise up this development and embrace it, to give credit to the pivotal point where the woman has influenced the world. We have tried to harmonize the two different concepts of Nature and Mama in this project for Orani.

Throughout Nivolas career, he endeavored to create a world where art binds communities together. He always favoured the idea that art should be accessible to everyone. Highlighting the importance of how Nivola influenced through his work for the community and in the art’s role within civic life. Taking all this into mind we have taken the same understanding of how our development should be accessible to everyone and how art plays a role in bringing communities together. We want our modules to be able to open up and bring communities together as well as to be able to create some kind of artistic influence throughout the design. We want Orani City to become an iconic landmark in which it can be admired from a distance as well as within the city by all as viewing art and landmarks. We would like to see some resemblance to mother nature in our project. We would closely combine our design into the natural design of this world. We aim to blend the mother figure, which is an essential pivotal point in human society and how a nurturing mother looks after its children and how the world takes care of us. Using today’s technology and functionalities, we aim to embrace nature as a mama figure and to protect it like a mother protecting her children.

“Madre Natura” is a sustainable development of modular system style development in natural settings. Inspired by the work of “Costantino Nivola”, we have taken inspiration from the” La Madre” Sculpture. Situated near the Nivola Museum zone, we have taken the whole area into account while designing our project. Our development is designed in a way to become a “living landmark”, in connection with the local heritage. This iconic project will be a new addition to the Orani social, exhibition and living areas. The design will be an iconic identity as livable and sociable art pieces and architectural structures that will develop a new identity of the city. A combination of livable space and sociable space will be distributed to the different levels of the terrain injunction with the different levels of the modules. We aim to integrate architecture, art and technology in this livable museum project. Our aim is to preserve and protect the heritage of Orani, give respect to Constantino Nivola and his work, and to continue his legacy with using modern techniques and our style integrated within the design. This project is also dedicated to “women”. As seen in the history of Orani, we have seen the efforts of women within the city and for the city. We have dedicated our modules to our protagonists, our mothers “Mother Nature”.

The site that we have situated our development on is a sloppy mountain side that will be transformed into staggered sections that will provide different levels for the modules to be situated in. Surrounded by natural scenery, we want our development to be self-sustainable working in harmony with nature. Sardinia is known to have winds and sometimes it can be very strong, due to the winds, we have had to manage our modules and design them in a way to allow wind to pass through. We have created voids either side where the wind can pass through. It also allows us to create openness throughout the modules to make sense of feeling together with nature.

Each building which is “self sustainable” can also provide energy resources to the grid of the development. We have designed each module to always be expandable and flexible so that they can always suit any terrain and meet the needs of any development. Each building is centered with a ‘Energy Tower’ that will provide all natural generated energy from Solar and Wind. The Energy Tower is covered with solar panels that will harvest solar energy while the top of the centered energy tower itself will rotate 360 degrees at the same time with the wind that will also generate wind turbine energy. The voids in the modules allow channeled wind through that can be directed to the wind turbines. Placed at the top of the tower are also some technological instruments such as smart-cameras and fire detectors. This is to provide social security and also to have natural security against natural disasters. Throughout the lower part of the centered tower, we have housing for all the technical equipment of the module that houses all necessary storage for water and energy as well as distribution stations for the surroundings.

Light on the modules also provide visibility for the surrounding areas as each building acts like a beacon on the mountain. At night time the lights can also provide entertainment lighting for social use and exhibitions. The network of lights on all the modules are enabled to work as a single unit for events for the surrounding museum as well as nationals days ..etc.

There can be many different formations in which these modules can be situated on the site, from a single module being sustainable on its own to a gathering of modules in a kite diamond formation to create a small community. The aim is to always be able to adapt and in this case these modules can be set up in a network to create a fully functioning self sustained habitat.

We have taken a bold step and not included stairs, rather we encourage the inhabitants and visitors to use natural staircases and the natural inclination of the terrain and environment. This is helped by the modules situated on different levels throughout the terrain in which the different floors will be accessible by different terrain levels. The two different floors A1 and B1 will have different purposes. Our aim is not only to create livable social modules but also to be social areas where people can socialize and use the space as they wish. The modules are expandable, flexible and adaptable in any situation. The ground floor ‘A1’ will only be designed for accommodation. The floor which is 1.5 meters high from the ground, will contain a working area, a private showerarea and also storage. The ceiling which is 3.5 meters high will give a much open area feeling while the interior will be designed to be organic and natural, in the architectural style of Sardinia.

‘B1 Social Floor’ will be a unique addition to the modules. All B1 floors (B1/B2/B3/B4) will be used for social spaces or can be adapted to the needs of visitors or inhabitants. It can be also used as additional accommodation space in which more bedroom areas can be added for the module. While this can be the case, we focus more on the social aspect of the community in which three modules can be connected on B1 floor level to create a much larger social area for larger events. We can also adapt to the social area in need of emergency services. An example is that during this “Covid-19 situation”, modules like these can be used for “self isolation” and also the social space can be broken up into different and limited use sections. We aim to be able to use these modules in any way possible to help the community and people as much as we can and that’s why we have designed them to be expandable, flexible and adaptable. The ‘C1 Panoramic Level’ will be a viewing station to see the breathtaking scenery and the surroundings. This C1 level can also be opened up to join with the other modules and their C1 and B1/2/3/4  levels to create a bigger Panoramic level depending again on the need for the habitats or visitors and events.

The main centered energy tower that houses all the systems is constructed out of a steel skeleton. By connecting our bearing steel beams to this skeleton column, we actually created a completely self-supporting steel carcass metal structure. We were able to create the distinctive exterior structure of the carcass due to this metal skeleton. The main exterior material is Effix-Based composite light grey panels, which provide a combination of comfortable isolation of the space and combining the white-stone aesthetic feeling like the “Madre Sculpture”.