Amie is the (feminine and romantic) name, which is actually an acronym – for Additive Manufacturing Integrated Energy – concealing the supertechnological spirit of this mini-house: a shell, 11.5 meters long by 3.5 in width, with a height of 4 meters, completely made with 3D-printed panels.
The idea comes from a successful partnership between science and design: on the one hand, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (Ornl), one of the most important American technology centers, reporting to the Department of Energy of the United States, and on the other the studio Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (Som), an outstanding firm (also in terms of size) on the international architecture scene, with offices around the world and over 10,000 completed projects in 50 different countries.
The project, done in the historic headquarters of the American firm, i.e. Chicago, makes use of advanced 3D modeling software to produce the panels (79% opaque, 21% transparent) that form the structure of the building, reinforced by a load-bearing steel skeleton. The advantages? The house produces no waste and all the parts can be disassembled, ground up and reutilized.
The house also has high-tech energy characteristics that also permit its positioning in extreme climate zones: inside, it has an insulation layer to create a high-performance thermal enclosure of extra-slim thickness, while flexible photovoltaic panels built into the roof make the unit self-sufficient in terms of power (light and appliances).
The building is also capable of powering itself directly from a hybrid car, whose battery supplies energy with wireless technology (www.ornl.gov/amie).
Text by Laura Ragazzola