University of Virginia Researchers Create a 3D Printed Structure With Sprouted Walls

Researchers have taken the concept of 3D-printed buildings, and taken it to the next level with soil walls impregnated with growable seeds.

The result is a type of oversized “Chia Pet”, a terracotta-type structure positively brimming with sprouted life.  The implications of this type of structure is still being envisioned, but some applications could include living green walls, natural insulation, flood prevention, and growable spaces for pollinators.

The University of Virginia has been experimenting with this eco-friendly building technique, which combines just soil with water and seeds, making it highly earth-friendly and reusable.

Other benefits for the innovation would be creating carbon-negative buildings, where the embedded plant life actually absorb carbon dioxide in the air, leaving a cleaner place than before.

We’re excited by these experiments, and can imagine a future where architecture and landscape architecture merge, creating living, breathing structures that beautify our world.

UVA researchers using robotic arms to create walls that use an embedded seed mixture in the printable material.

Some of the researchers have likened the look of the walls to ‘oversized Chia Pets’.

The 3D printing nozzles layer a mixture of soil, water, and seeds.

Below we see photos from various times in the growing process, from an initial 48 hours after printing, and 144 hours after printing, teeming with plant life.