TERA : 3D Printed Sustainable Pods To Call Home Here on Earth

TERA 3D Printed Sustainable Pods

You might have read about New York City-based architecture firm Al SpaceFactory and their MARSHA, a 3D-printed habitat designed for life on Mars and winner of the $2.25 million prize purse from NASA’s 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge back in 2015. Now, they’ve designed the TERA, a sustainable 3D-printed pod in which you can live in here on Earth.

3D Printed TERA Pods

3D Printed TERA Pods

TERA has evolved from the challenge-winning prototype MARSHA and is the most advanced, sustainable building ever conceived. Harvested from the earth and returned to the earth, the multi-level homes with spiral staircases have an exterior shell printed on-site with renewable and recyclable materials into which a birch plywood interior is placed.

Built with NASA award winning technology, TERA is light years ahead of any known form of construction. TERA’s exterior shell minimizes environmental impact without compromising comfort and performance.

tera pods green architecture

It offers a simpler, more sustainable solution for building on this planet, while advancing the technologies for living on another.

“Our vision for peace on Earth is one in which we can live in harmony with nature and the environment and stop polluting our precious planet. TERA was borne out of that vision – it’s a futuristic, sustainable tiny home that embraces a minimalistic lifestyle that is one with its surroundings. It’s made from recycled waste and natural materials that can be grown from crops – a revolutionary alternative to wasteful concrete.” – AI SpaceFactory

TERA was built from the same autonomous 3D printing technologies and compostable materials designed for longterm, sustainable life on Mars. Like its predecessor MARSHA, TERA is built from a 3D printed biopolymer basalt composite –a material developed from crops like corn and sugar cane – tested and validated by NASA to be (at minimum) 50% stronger and more durable than concrete.

This 3D printed architectural model is a scaled-down physical representation of TERA’s exterior.

This material has the potential to be leaps and bounds more sustainable than traditional concrete and steel, leading to a future in which we can eliminate the building industry’s massive waste of unrecyclable materials. It could transform the way we build on Earth – and save our planet.


Inside TERA’s high-tech shell is a welcoming home crafted to offer earthly comfort while maintaining a commitment to sustainability and the environment. Designed for a lifestyle of luxurious simplicity, TERA emphasizes the beauty of natural materials in harmony with the environment.

TERA’s rich and playful interior, made of birch and poplar, evokes that of a tree-house. Free of pre-defined rooms, TERA’s various activity areas are perched on, and nestled in, a spiraling form emerging from the landscape.

TERA’s open plan maximizes daylight and air circulation—further enhanced by energy efficient LED lighting and underfloor heating to provide year-round comfort.

The transformation from MARSHA – AI SpaceFactory’s NASA-award-winning Mars habitat – into TERA is a literal demonstration of how Space technology can reshape how we build and live on planet Earth. Modern construction has consumed vast amounts of energy and resources due to its dependence on single-use, carbon intensive materials such as cement. But if a TERA is demolished, its exterior shell can be fully recycled and reprinted several times. Ultimately, at the end of the usable life span of our material, TERA can be composted and returned to earth, making way for future generations of sustainable buildings.

prefab green living pods

Each and every TERA is 3D printed on site with minimal environmental impact. We take great care to preserve and restore the land to its original pristine state. Shrubs and tree clippings are sorted and stored for future use.

Beginning in March of 2020 you can book a stay at a prototype of TERA that was built in Garrison, N.Y.and funded via Indiegogo.

Starting 2020, AI SpaceFactory will embark on a multi-year pilot program to build TERAs in locations across the US and globally. Due to the experimental nature of the project, we’re seeking landowners willing to develop a long-term working relationship, providing support and feedback to inform future designs.

Pilots will be selected based on diversity and rarity of the plot; relevance to Space use-case (ie. remote or off-grid location, high cost of importing materials, difficult terrain, or extreme climate); social value; and mission alignment (Preference will be given to developments whose owner investment is greater than $500,000).

For more information, visit AI SpaceFactory

all images courtesy of AI SpaceFactory website and Instagram Feed.