Construction company Apis Cor and Russian developer PIK group took one day to construct an on-site 3D-printed house in Stupino, Russia. Built by a mobile 3D construction printer with a concrete mixture as the ink, the single-story structure measures 38 square meters (about 410 square feet) and costs around $10,134 to build. Temperature and curing restrictions of the mixture—which can only be used above 5 C (about 41 F)—required the team to erect a tent around the construction zone to insulate the area. The house was finished with a layer of "mineral plaster [that] consists of white cement and ball-shaped marble and granite crumbs, so it can serve as an additional heat insulation and goes well with the thermal insulation systems," according to Apis Cor's website. [3DPrint.com]

Courtesy National Geographic

The island of Ta'u in American Samoa has converted its energy source from diesel to solar power. The island relied on diesel fuel for all of its electricity needs, but in November, SolarCity, a solar power company recently bought by Elon Musk and his Tesla company, completed the installation of a microgrid solar system comprising 5,328 solar panels with a 1.410 megawatts capacity. The energy generated can be stored in 60 Tesla Powerpack batteries that can retain power for up to three days without sun. [National Geographic]

Despite this project's scope, SolarCity let go 20 percent of its staff in 2016 due to slow growth in the industry, ending the year with 12,243 employees. [Reuters]

ICYMI: A recent white paper by global architecture firm Perkins+Will with the Healthy Building Network suggests antimicrobial ingredients used to kill bacteria on countertops, floor tiles, and other building materials are doing more harm than good. [ARCHITECT]

Courtesy Hokkaido University

Researchers at Hokkaido University in Japan have developed fiber-reinforced hydrogel composite that is five times stronger than carbon steel. The scientists say this material is environmentally friendly, durable, and flexible, making it viable for fashion, manufacturing, and medical applications. [InHabitat]

ICYMI: Next Progressives alum Geoffrey von Oeyen creates a mechanized awning for a California school using sailboat technology. [ARCHITECT]

Courtesy Hyperloop One

Los Angeles–based company Hyperloop One has begun initial talks with the Indian government about potentially constructing the ultra-fast transportation system in the country. "India turns out to be a massive opportunity obviously for the concept of Hyperloop, which is why there’s so much interest," says Hyperloop CEO Rob Lloyd in a Bloomberg article. The company is planning to source components such as steel locally and will decide whether to move forward with the project by the end of the year. [Bloomberg]

Courtesy New Atlas

Scientists at Cornell University and the University of Minnesota have discovered a way to combine polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) plastics together without compromising durability. Usually incapable of creating a homogeneous mix, PE and PP plastics are limited in terms of what they can be recycled into together. However, using multi-block polymers, the team created a structurally strong plastic alloy that could potentially make it easier for manufacturers to recycle these two types of plastic waste. [New Atlas]

ICYMI: Tech and architecture join forces as IBM's question answering supercomputer Watson and design studio SOFTlab team up to conceptualize an installation inspired by Gaudi. [ARCHITECT]


Courtesy TechCrunch

In an effort to have its facilities run on more sustainable energy, Amazon announced that it will be installing solar arrays on the roofs of 15 global fulfillment and distribution facilities by the end of this year. The company—which has been criticized by Greenpeace for its higher usage of grid power as compared to other tech giants such as Facebook and Apple—hopes to install solar arrays across 50 buildings by 2020. The arrays are expected to provide 80 percent of each facility's energy needs. [TechCrunch]