3D-home printer ICON has partnered with Bjarke Ingels Group and homebuilder Lennar for their most ambitious project to date.
Since 2018, Austin, Texas-based ICON has been printing out homes in the area and beyond using a robotic arm that meticulously layers a concrete-like material. Now, the company plans to flex that same arm—or several—by building a neighborhood of 100 single-family residences designed by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG). The lofty project is in collaboration with homebuilder Lennar, and promises to be the largest community of 3D-printed homes in North America.
ICON’s first 3D-printed house, a 350-square-foot Austin dwelling that took just 47 hours to complete using the company’s proprietary Lavacrete concrete blend, attracted a range of interested clients and collaborators.
In 2019, for example, the company began working with nonprofit New Story to build an affordable housing development in Mexico, reducing the per-house construction time to just 24 hours. In 2020, working with nonprofit Loaves & Fishes and design firm Logan Architecture, ICON introduced a 51-acre development of 3D-printed homes for those experiencing homelessness in Austin.
Earlier this year, ICON partnered with Bjarke Ingels Group and NASA to print a simulated Martian habitat at the Johnson Space Center, and also saw completion of America’s first 3D-printed community of homes, the East 17th Street Residences in East Austin. This summer, the company produced the largest 3D-printed building in North America, for the Texas Military Department.
Whether you’re a deep-pocketed federal agency or a cash-strapped charity, building rapidly without construction crews marks a potential paradigm shift.
“ICON exists as a response to the global housing crisis and to put our technology in service to the world,” says ICON cofounder and CEO Jason Ballard. “The United States faces a deficit of approximately five million new homes, so there is a profound need to swiftly increase supply without compromising quality, beauty, or sustainability—and that is exactly the strength of our technology.”
Now comes arguably the biggest challenge yet: single-family homes designed to be sold at market rate. ICON plans to print the 100 residences using their Vulcan printers—the robotic arms—which can print concrete structures of up to 3,000 square feet.
See the full story on Dwell.com: ICON Just Unveiled Plans for a Massive Neighborhood of 3D-Printed Homes in Austin, Texas