Though 3D-printed architecture is still in its relative infancy, Icon has already produced both affordable homes in Mexico and luxury residences in the US. The firm has now teamed up with prestigious studio Lake|Flato Architects to create another new 3D-printed home that’s being built in Austin, Texas, using Icon’s next-generation 3D printer.
House Zero is the first in Icon’s new “Exploration Series” of homes that involves collaboration with high-profile architects. It will measure around 2,000 sq ft (185 sq m), spread over one floor, plus there’s an adjacent accessory dwelling unit (ADU).
The house proper features a modernist ranch-inspired design that’s somewhat reminiscent of previous Lake|Flato Architects designs, and will include three bedrooms, and two bathrooms and a toilet, with another bedroom and bathroom in the ADU. We’ve no word on whether this first home will be made available for purchase at this early stage.
Alongside the home, Icon is showing off its new Vulcan 3D printer, which is being used for the build. The high-tech construction printer weighs 9,500 lb (4,309 kg) and is specifically designed and engineered with the mass production of 3D-printed single-story homes in mind. According to Icon, it’s 1.5 times larger and twice as fast as its previous Vulcan 3D printer, extruding cement in layers at up to 5-10 linear inches (12-25 cm) per second, and is capable of printing homes and structures up to 3,000 sq ft (278 sq m).
The construction process still works in much the same way as other 3D-printed architecture projects we’ve reported on and involves a robotic nozzle extruding a proprietary cement mixture in layers until the basic structure is complete. It takes a team of up to four people to operate it and is controlled with a tablet. Once all the printing is done, human builders then come in to complete the home’s roof, windows, wiring, plumbing, and other finishing touches.
“House Zero will be the most incredible 3D-printed home in the world, because it was optimized and designed specifically to be 3D printed,” says Icon CEO and co-founder Jason Ballard. “This is the moment when people around the world will see more of the architectural design freedom and benefits of a 3D-printed house and believe that they too would want to live in a 3D-printed house.
“If people fall in love with what we’re doing here, it turns out the Vulcan is the only construction system in the world capable of delivering this home and others like it. We are hopeful this catalyzes widespread enthusiasm and excitement for the future of construction and architecture. We’re getting ready to ramp up manufacturing in our new facilities and begin larger scale projects in anticipation of such a response.”