3D printing architecture technology has shown massive potential for military use. The U.S. Army clearly recognizes this and plans to build three 3D-printed barracks that it says will be the largest 3D-printed structures in the Western Hemisphere.
The project will be in Fort Bliss, Texas, and comprises the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), the U.S. Army Installation Management Command (IMCOM), and the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC). It’s being built using Icon’s Vulcan 3D printer, which is the industry leader now and is being used for everything from housing to NASA bases. The design is handled by Logan Architecture, which was also the architect for Icon’s recent 3D- printed House Zero.
Each barrack will be over 5,700 sq ft (roughly 530 sq m), making each one the joint largest 3D-printed structure in the Western Hemisphere.
They will host 72 soldiers per barracks. It will involve the Vulcan 3D printer extruding Icon’s cement-like proprietary mixture Lavacrete out of a nozzle at up to 5-10 linear inches (12-25 cm) per second in layers to build the basic structure of the building. Human builders will then finish it off with doors, a roof, windows, wiring, and other necessities.
“This project supports all three Army priorities: people, readiness, and modernization,” said Lt. Gen. Doug Gabram, Commanding General of United States Army Installation Management Command. “Constructing facilities using this cutting-edge technology saves labor costs, reduces planning time, and increases the speed of construction of future facilities. We are looking at other ways to use this innovative technique for rapid construction of other types of facilities beyond barracks.”