Architecture

3D-printed houses come to a Texas village for the homeless

3D-printed houses come to a Te...
The new welcome center at the Community First! Village in Austin was 3D printed in a total of 27 hours
The new welcome center at the Community First! Village in Austin was 3D printed in a total of 27 hours
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Inside the new welcome center at the Community First! Village in Austin
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Inside the new welcome center at the Community First! Village in Austin
The new welcome center at the Community First! Village in Austin was 3D printed in a total of 27 hours
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The new welcome center at the Community First! Village in Austin was 3D printed in a total of 27 hours
Icon has teamed up with local non-profit Mobile Loaves & Fishes to construct low-cost 3D-printed homes in Texas
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Icon has teamed up with local non-profit Mobile Loaves & Fishes to construct low-cost 3D-printed homes in Texas

From space exploration to robotics to medicine, 3D printing has huge potential in all kinds of areas, but one where it is starting to make a real impact is the world of low-cost housing. The latest example of this is a few additions to a development for the homeless in Texas, starting with a stylish new welcome center that was 3D printed in little more than a day.

The construction company behind the new 3D-printed homes goes by the name of Icon, and since debuting its first prototype at SXSW in Texas in 2018 has taken its technology to Latin America, where it is building the world’s first 3D-printed neighborhood.

By using its Vulcan II 3D printer to produce the basic structures of simple homes and having humans add final touches like windows, doors and roofing, the company is able to construct dwellings remarkably cheaply and efficiently. The prototype home it produced for SXSW took 48 hours to make at a cost of US$10,000.

Similarly, the village of low-cost homes it is building in Latin America is designed for families living on less that $200 a month and is hoped to serve as a proof-of-concept for affordable housing solutions around the world. It now hopes to keep the ball rolling with a new project at the Community First! Village in Austin, Texas.

Inside the new welcome center at the Community First! Village in Austin
Inside the new welcome center at the Community First! Village in Austin

The development is headed up by local homelessness non-profit Mobile Loaves & Fishes and will include more than 500 homes across 51 acres (20 ha) once completed. Icon enters the fray at Phase II of the project, and will add a set of six 3D-printed homes to the mix.

These homes were drawn up by Texas-based outfit Logan Architecture, and Icon will for the first time ever print three at the same time as a way of demonstrating its build efficiency and focus on lowering costs. All six homes will break ground before the year is out, but the company has already completed a 500-sq-ft (46-sq-m) welcome center for the village, which it printed in a total of 27 hours, but spread across several days.

To hear from some of the people involved in the project, check out the video below.

ICON 3D Printing for the Homeless in Austin

Source: Icon, Twitter

4 comments
paul314
On the one hand, it's great because this technology is cheaper and can build homes more quickly. On the other hand, if it's adopted widely, it will throw a lot of moderately-skilled people out of decent-paying work. Resulting in more homeless villages needing cheap 3D-printed housing...
rod76
I doubt the Power,AC,plumbing ,windows,concrete pad,permits and taxes come to $10,000.The basic structure made with 3-D concrete printer maybe.I like the idea of Habitat For Humanity better where tenants actually have to put in sweat equity and help build the house.If you give someone something not earned and with no effort that will be the value of it and likely be trashed in no time.
Douglas Rogers
This makes a nice house but I doubt it is a cheap a mobile home construction or even 2x4 frame on slab. Your real problem will be the price of the house needed to get onto an acceptable lot. this is usually at least $100K, and, often, several $100 K.
christopher
Video says "Doesn't matter how risky it is..." - I expect the formerly homeless residents might disagree, when the non-reinforced concrete walls collapse and crush them to death. There's a reason REBAR exists. Maybe they need to go back to school to learn why!! I'm SO TIRED of this same garbage 3d printing idea - these are worthless unsafe structures, and nobody should be calling them "housing". Make something SAFE for a change.