3D-printed architecture is growing at an exponential rate and soon in the future, a huge chunk of Americans will have homes made by robots. Among the companies offering this, Icon, is at the top. It is working on its last year’s plan of creating a new neighborhood in Texas made up of 100 3D-printed homes.
The project is called the Genesis Collection at Wolf Ranch and is currently under construction in Georgetown, near Austin (Icon is based in Austin). The project also entails Hillwood Communities and Lennar, while the homes themselves were designed by high-profile architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group.
“For the first time in the history of the world, what we’re witnessing here is a fleet of robots building an entire community of homes,” said Jason Ballard, co-founder, and CEO, of Icon. “And not just any homes, homes that are better in every way… better design, higher strength, higher energy performance and comfort, and increased resiliency. In the future, I believe robots and drones will build entire neighborhoods, towns, and cities, and we’ll look back at Lennar’s Wolf Ranch community as the place where robotic construction at scale began. We still have a long way to go, but I believe this marks a very exciting and hopeful turn in the way we address housing issues in the world.”
The homes are being constructed in place using its own Vulcan 3D printer. The build process comprises the 3D printers extruding a cement-like proprietary mixture called Lavacrete out of a nozzle in layers, building up the structure. Human builders will then finish it all off by adding a metal roof, doors, windows, and whatever else is needed.
Eight different styles of residence will be available, ranging in size from 1,574 – 2,112 sq ft (146 – 196 sq m). The homes will be spread over one floor and provide three or four bedrooms and up to four bathrooms. The interiors are inspired by traditional Texas ranches.
The houses will not be dependent on the grids for energy. They will have solar panels and have some smart home tech like a Ring Video Doorbell, Wi-Fi-operated lock, and a smart thermostat, along with a security package.
Icon has offered very affordable housing for homeless people in Mexico and Austin. However, the Genesis Collection at Wolf Ranch will be more on the higher end. They will be priced at around US$450,000 each. Pre-orders will be available sometime in 2023 and registrations are open at the moment.