AMS Spring 2023

The Cabin of Curiosities is a Whimsical Yet Livable 3D Printed Tiny House

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The Cabin of Curiosities sounds like something out of a fairy tale, but it’s real – even if its appearance is reminiscent of fairy tales, too. The small 3D printed cabin is the latest project of Emerging Objects, which has been known to 3D print some curiosities in the past. Emerging Objects is based in the San Francisco Bay area, where a housing crisis has led to a need for creative solutions. It has also led to the easing of restrictions around the construction of secondary housing units, or backyard cottages. The new rules allow homeowners to transform existing backyard buildings, like sheds and garages, into rental units.

Emerging Objects took advantage of that easing of the law to construct the cabin, which, while it doesn’t have a 3D printed frame, is covered in more than 4,500 3D printed ceramic tiles. It is structurally sound, weathertight and completely livable, in addition to being beautiful to look at. It’s also an excellent example of upcycling. Emerging Objects is fond of turning odd things into 3D printing material, and the Cabin of Curiosities is no exception – the tiles of its front facade are 3D printed from a mix of Portland cement, sawdust, salt, and even grape skins.

That front facade is more than just a wall – it’s a garden. The “living wall” is made up of tiles gathered in clusters of six, with four of those tiles designed to hold tiny air plants or succulents. The roof and contiguous facades feature a unique design concept that Emerging Objects calls “seed stitch,” inspired by a knitting term.

“The Seed Stitch Wall is a prototype for a 3D printed ceramic wall cladding system,” Emerging Objects says. “Whereas most applications of 3D printing demonstrate how 3D printing allows for mass difference, Seed Stitch is an exercise in mass complexity and allows the influence of the hand, gravity, temperature, and the attempts of a machine to print an unstable shape, to produce difference.”

The seed stitch tiles are 3D printed at high speed in a technique that utilizes gcode to create an uneven, handmade-looking aesthetic in which no two tiles are the same. On the inside, the walls are 3D printed from translucent bioplastic with custom relief textures and color-changing LED lights. The interior of the house also features several 3D printed decor items from Emerging Objects.

The cabin may be small, but it should appeal greatly to the growing number of people subscribing to the “tiny house” movement. The translucent walls fill it with light and make it seem more spacious, not to mention cheery.

“These are not just investigations into testing materials for longevity or for structure, but also a study of aesthetics,” said Ronald Rael, Co-founder of Emerging Objects. “We see the future as being elegant, optimistic, and beautiful.”

The Cabin of Curiosities captures all of those things. 3D printing allows it to be constructed quickly, as well as enabling the possibility of customization. It could easily be put up in a backyard, fitting neatly into a corner and allowing the resident of the cabin to have their own space. The Cabin of Curiosities may look like a fairy tale house, but it could be the solution to a very real housing crisis across the world.

Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below. 

[Sources: The Architect’s NewspaperArchinect / Images: Emerging Objects]

 

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