How can a building and a car share energy?


AMIE is a 3D-printed building created by scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in collaboration with architecture, engineering and urban planning firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) and the University of Tennessee College of Architecture and Design.


Martin Keller, PhD

Previous Associate Laboratory Director, Energy and Environmental Sciences
Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Johney Green, Jr., PhD

Previous Director, Energy and Transportation Science Division
Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Dr. Roderick Jackson

Group Leader, Building Envelope Systems Research
Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Dr. Lonnie Love

Group Leader, Manufacturing Systems Research
Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Melissa Lapsa

Deputy Director, Urban Dynamic Institute Group Leader, Whole-Building & Community Integration
Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Patrick Hughes

Director, Building Technologies Program
Oak Ridge National Laboratory

James Richard Rose

Adjunct Assistant Professor, Senior Lecturer, Director of Institute for Smart Structures, College of Architecture + Design
University of Tennessee-Knoxville

Brian Lee, FAIA

Design Partner
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

Maged Guerguis

Senior Architect
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

Leif Eikevik, AIA, LEED AP

Senior Architect
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

Andrew Obendorf, AIA

Associate Director, Studio Head
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

Benton Johnson

Associate Director
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

Lucas Tryggestad, AIA, LEED AP

Deputy Governor's Chair, Director
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

Tanvi Parikh, AICP, LEED AP

Project Manager
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

William Baker, PE, SE, FASCE, FIStructE, NAE

Partner, Structural and Civil Engineering
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

Philip Enquist, FAIA

Governor's Chair,
Partner for Urban Design & Planning
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
Governor’s Chair for Energy + Urbanism

Nicknamed “AMIE” (Additive Manufacturing Integrated Energy), the structure can be powered by a 3D-printed electric vehicle also developed at ORNL. The mobile power source combined with AMIE’s rooftop renewable energy photovoltaics and the building’s highly energy-efficient design demonstrate possibilities for future off-the-grid human shelter.

Photo courtesy of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, US Department of Energy

The world’s first integrated energy system between transportation and architecture.

A first step into the future

AMIE is a single-room enclosure that demonstrates the unique capabilities and characteristics of Additive Manufacturing (3D printing), utilizes advanced insulation products, showcases innovative technology in appliances and fixtures, and is paired with a revolutionary mobile energy source.

Designing for zero waste

AMIE explores the potential for a 3D-printed panel to combine into a single integrated system the many functions of a conventional wall system – structure, insulation, air and moisture barriers, and exterior cladding. This can lead to zero-waste construction and buildings that can be ground up and reprinted in different forms.

Applying complex geometries

Three-dimensional printing allows for complex geometries with rounded corners and curved surfaces that reduce localized stress and mitigate turbulent exterior air flow. The AM panels create a structural design optimized for live loads, lateral forces and impact resistance.

Maximizing energy efficiency and renewable energy

Its high level of solid surfaces (79%) to glazed areas (21%) results in an extremely efficient energy-conserving enclosure. Photovoltaic panels are integrated into the roof surface and supplement the vehicle energy source. The panels’ interior ribs are designed for modified atmosphere insulation (MAI) for the greatest thermal barrier in the least amount of space.

Future directions and applications

AMIE is the beginning of collaborative, cross-disciplinary exploration of additive manufacturing in high-performance building enclosures. Future iterations will aim for higher thermal performance, explore new assembly processes, and further demonstrate new housing concepts.