3D-printed architecture moves from niche hobbyist proposition to serious housing solution with a groundbreaking new project that’s nearing completion in Austin, Texas. Hailed by 3D printing firm Icon as the USA’s first 3D-printed homes, they are now available for purchase for a starting price of around US$450,000 each.
Icon, which recently welcomed investment from high-profile firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), is creating the project in collaboration with Kansas City developer 3Strands, and the homes were designed by Logan Architecture. The project consists of a development of multiple different homes, ranging from two to four bedrooms.
Icon has already undertaken a housing project in Mexico of course, but the Texan development is quite different. Whereas the Mexican houses were conceived as affordable housing, these new homes are clearly geared more towards wealthier types. Additionally, they feature a hybrid construction: the first floor of the homes is 3D-printed using Icon’s Vulcan printer via the usual method of extruding a cement-like mixture in layers and building up the structure, then adding doors and windows, etc. However, the second floor is constructed using traditional methods and includes a timber frame, so they’re not wholly 3D-printed. This is in contrast to Kamp C’s experimental house, which involved 3D printing both floors.
“The one-of-a-kind homes designed by Logan Architecture for developer, 3Strands, are the latest homebuilding project using Icon’s Vulcan construction system to deliver sustainable, resilient and beautiful housing,” says Icon’s press release.
“The first floor of these highly energy efficient homes were 3D printed using Icon’s advanced material that is stronger and longer-lasting than traditional building materials. 3D printing technology provides safer, more resilient homes that are designed to withstand fire, flood, wind and other natural disasters better than conventionally built homes and that can be built in a matter of weeks. To date, Icon has delivered two dozen 3D-printed homes across central Texas and in Mexico and this marks the first mainstream housing project for the startup.”
The interiors of the homes measure 1,000 – 2,000 sq ft (92 – 185 sq m). Designer Claire Zinnecker is handling the interior decor and sought to create a modern interior with a simple material palette of natural woods, metal finishes and tiles that reflects local trends. They also feature large covered front porches, open concept floor plans, and up to four bathrooms, as well as high-performance HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems.
Work is still ongoing and the team expects it to be finished and ready for the first buyers to start moving in “this summer” (Northern Hemisphere). If you’d like to snag one for yourself, hit the official website.