ICON announced their massive 3D printed construction project to build 100 homes is now underway.
The Texas-based company is one of the leaders in the construction 3D printing industry. Their Vulcan 3D printer is able to lay down concrete rapidly and is very suited for building walls and other low-elevation concrete structures.
Previously the company had announced this large project, which involves building the concrete portions of 100 homes in a neighborhood near Austin, Texas. Now the project is officially underway.
While the construction has commenced, apparently buyers are not yet able to reserve one of these homes — that has to wait until 2023, which actually isn’t that far away.
ICON explains a bit more about the project:
“Situated north of Austin in the city of Georgetown’s master-planned community of Wolf Ranch by Hillwood Communities, a Perot company, the 100-home community combines innovative robotics, software and advanced materials to create homes that are technologically advanced, environmentally sustainable and architecturally striking. Each Lennar home in Wolf Ranch is co-designed by the renowned architectural firm BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group. Prices are anticipated to start from the mid-$400,000s.”
ICON explains the styling of the home, which apparently have 24 different elevations:
“Blending contemporary Texas ranch style aesthetics, the community of 3D-printed homes features elevated architectural and energy-efficient designs that highlight the benefits of resiliency and sustainability with the digital possibilities of additive construction. Delivered at speed and at scale using a fleet of ICON’s Vulcan robotic construction systems, software and advanced materials, each home’s full wall system – including interior and exterior walls – are produced with less waste and with more design freedom.”
This is the value of 3D printing: customization. In theory, each home could have a drastically different layout as it doesn’t really cost much to change the design on each job run. Here it looks like ICON and team has produced a couple dozen floor layouts that buyers can choose from.
I suspect in the future when this concept is a bit more familiar with people we may see increased interest in unusual layout designs to more fully leverage the technology.
This project is quite interesting. It means that the value of this project is to be at the very least US$45M, a chunk of which will go to ICON for the concrete work.
That’s very good news for ICON, which had previously received a massive injection of funds from investors who hope the company grows significantly. This project is a good step on the way to growth, and signals investors that this thing is for real.
Should this project succeed, it is then a matter of scaling up ICON’s activities and partnering with other builders in other regions.