Icon brings 3D-printed starchitect design to the Texas desert
Following its Wolf Ranch and House Zero homes, leading 3D-printed-architecture firm Icon continues to push forward its cutting-edge building techniques with a development in Marfa, Texas. Created in collaboration with the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), the El Cosmico project will consist of a campground and facilities, plus both small and larger housing.
The development was commissioned by hotelier Liz Lambert and will involve rebuilding and extending the existing El Cosmico campground hotel, which currently hosts eclectic accommodation like yurts and trailers among the desert landscape.
In addition to a series of small but attractive-looking circular and dome-topped vacation dwellings, it will include a central swimming pool and communal facilities, plus some larger BIG-designed homes with up to four bedrooms that boast expansive views of the local scenery.
Their overall design will draw inspiration from the landscape and will also showcase some advanced 3D-printing techniques, says Icon. As well as the domes, there will be arches, vaults and complex parabolic forms. Some dwellings will be topped by greenery and feature skylights to maximize daylight inside.
"The design for the expansion and re-imagination of the El Cosmico hotel and housing is informed by this unique connection between the high desert landscape and cosmic organizations," explained the press release. "The new hotel and homes feature organic curves and domes, a primordial architectural language that can only be achieved by 3D-printing. Icon's technology excels at creating soft shapes and curved surfaces, making it possible to bring this design vision to life."
The construction process will make use of Icon's own Vulcan 3D printing system, which uses a proprietary cement-like mixture called Lavacrete. This is extruded out of a nozzle in layers to build up the structure. Dezeen further reports that a pigment will be added to give it an appearance that more closely matches the local landscape.
Alongside the main El Cosmico project, Icon and BIG have also collaborated with the Long Center for the Performing Arts in Austin to create a 3D-printed performance pavilion that reflects the overall design of El Cosmico. Though the pavilion is nearing completion, El Cosmico isn't due to start construction until late-2024.