Moving just millimetres above sand and driven by CAD software, the machine’s armature squeezes a magnesium-based solution from nozzles on its lower side. Once the layer has dried, sand and binding ink are deposited, after which a new layer is applied. Basically, the machine forms a building, centimetre by centimetre and by pouring rock.

London-based architect Andrea Morgante has joined Dini to produce the first 3D-printed building, a pavilion to be built in the nearby town of Pontedera. Morgante and Dini decided to print the egg-shaped landmark in parts before assembling it on site. The building shows the potential of the 3D printing machine-its ability to easily create Gaudí-esque, curvy structures. Furthermore, the printer is four times faster than conventional construction, and the “ ink ” costs much less than Portland cement. And last but not least, it creates little waste and eliminates the need to transport building materials, therefore reducing the size of a building’s carbon footprint.

The British Architectural Association is the first to have received a marketable version of the printer. The message is clear: watch this space.

This and more inspiring projects can be found in the print copy of A smart guide to Utopia or the ebook version.