Mask Architects Designs World’s First Steel 3D Printed Modular Prefabricated Living Houses in Sardinia, Italy

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Sardinia, Perugia, and Istanbul- based architecture and design firm Mask Architects, led by Öznur Pinar Çer and Danilo Petta, has designed the world's first "Exosteel" mother nature modular prefabricated living houses in Orani in the city of Sardinia, Italy. Designed for Nivola Museum’s visitors, Tourists, and Artists in Orani, the project " called “Mother Nature” comprises 14 modular houses. The architects took cues from the sculpture “ La Madre” created by Costantino Nivola for the amorphous forms. Each of the houses contains a living area, entrance, bed, sitting area, TV and shelf, sofa, bathroom, balcony, storage area, and bar. The firm shared more details about the project with SURFACES REPORTER (SR). Take a look:

Also Read: Prefabricated Pyramidal Vacation Cabins Designed by Rojkind Arquitectos in Mexico | Wander 2.0

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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.


Idea Behind the Concept

“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 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.”

Inspired by Nivolas’ Works 

The architects were inspired by the famous artist Nivolas to design the houses. The great artist, during his entire career journey, endeavored to create a world where art ties communities together. He always favored the idea that art should be accessible to everyone. The project highlights the importance of how Nivola influenced through his work for the community and in the art’s role within civic life.

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 “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.”

Dedicated to Women

The firm has dedicated the project to women of the city. As seen in the history of Orani, they 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. We would like to see some resemblance to mother nature in our project."

With this project, the firm wants 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. 

exosteel-modular-living-museum-mask-architects-surfaces-reporterThis iconic project will be a new addition to the Orani social, exhibition, and living areas. It features a combination of livable and sociable spaces that will be distributed to the different levels of the terrain in injunction with the different levels of the modules. 

Also Read: Striatus: The First 3D-Concrete-Printed Arched and Unreinforced Footbridge in Venice, Italy

Natural Staircases

The firm has taken a bold step of not including the stairs, rather they encourage the inhabitants and visitors to use natural staircases and the natural inclination of the terrain and environment.

exosteel-modular-living-museum-mask-architects-surfaces-reporterThis is helped by the modules situated on different levels throughout the terrain in which the different floors will be accessible by different terrain levels. 

Self-Sustainable Structures

Situated on a sloppy mountainside near the Nivola Museum zone, it will be a self-sustainable project that works as per its natural surroundings. As Sardinia city is known to have winds and sometimes it can be very strong, due to the winds, the firm has to manage their modules and design them in a way to allow wind to pass through. 

The architects have created voids on either side where the wind can pass through. It also allows them to create openness throughout the modules to make sense of feeling together with nature.

exosteel-modular-living-museum-mask-architects-surfaces-reporter (7)Each building that is "self-sustainable" can also provide energy resources to the grid of the development. 

Each unit is centered with an ‘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 central 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. 

Integration of Technological Devices

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.

exosteel-modular-living-museum-mask-architects-surfaces-reporter (7)Throughout the lower part of the central tower, the firm will integrate all the technical equipment of the module that will accommodate all necessary storage for water and energy as well as distribution stations for the surroundings.

Glowing Lights on the Modules

Light on the modules also provides visibility for the surrounding areas as each building acts as 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 is enabled to work as a single unit for events for the surrounding museum as well as nationals days, etc.

exosteel-modular-living-museum-mask-architectsThere 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,” they further added.

Also Read: Studio Mortazavi Designs Worlds First 3D Printed School in Madagascar | Thinking Huts

Distinctive Exterior Made of Steel Skeleton 

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 structure."


The architects 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”. 

Expandable, Flexible and Adaptable Modules

“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.”

exosteel-modular-living-museum-mask-architectsThe 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 shower area, 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.

Also Read: Casa COVIDA is a 3D Printed Home Made From Sand, Straw, Mud, Clay And Other Organic Materials | California | Emerging Objects

Livable Social Modules

The two different floors A1 and B1 will have different purposes. The prime goal of the architects 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. 

‘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 to the module. 

While this can be the case, the firm focuses more on the social aspect of the community in which three modules can be connected on the B1 floor level to create a much larger social area for larger events. 

exosteel-modular-living-museum-mask-architects-surfaces-reporter (7)“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.

Project Details

Project Name: Mother Nature
Location: Sardinia, Italy
Architecture Firm: MASK Architects
Lead Architect: Öznur Pinar Çer
Team: Öznur Pinar Çer, Danilo Petta
Rendering and Animation: MASK Architects

About the Firm

Mask Architects and Design is young an international architecture and design firm in Istanbul, Germany, and Italy with more than 5 years of expertise in the fields of priority public and cultural projects and then workspaces,mix-use projects, luxury industrial design, medical design equipment and health, education, shopping, living space, yacht and watch design as well as production and master planning across the world. The office is led by young award-winning architect and designer Öznur Pinar Çer and luxury Industrial designer, architect Danilo Petta.

mask architects

Öznur Pinar Çer and Danilo Petta

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