The Future of Housing:10 Innovative 3D Printed Houses
In Austin, Texas, a team is revolutionizing home construction, claiming they can build 3D printed houses in under two days at a fraction of the cost.Traditional homes typically take three to six months and cost an average of $237,000.
Icon, a pioneering company in the 3D printed house industry, employs a 1-ton 3D printer to extrude concrete, creating two-bedroom, one-bathroom single-family homes. Jason Ballard, Icon's co-founder, views this technology as a construction paradigm shift and is even collaborating with NASA to test 3D printing on the moon. Icon aims to address the US housing deficit through innovative 3D-printing technology.
Part 1: What Are 3D Printed Houses?
3D printed houses, constructed primarily through 3D printing, offer rapid and cost-effective housing solutions with minimal human involvement. These structures, often featuring cement-based curvilinear designs, vary from affordable to luxury options.
Beyond cost and time benefits, this technology promises sustainable housing solutions and addresses homelessness challenges.
Part 2: How Are 3D Printed Houses Built?
Industrial-scale 3D printers are at the forefront of constructing multi-unit housing using "additive manufacturing" techniques. These cutting-edge machines, guided by digital blueprints, dispense a variety of materials, including cement blends, sand, polymers, and bio-resins.
In the present day, these advanced 3D printers are capable of creating complete 3D printed houses in less than 24 hours, although it's important to note that this printing time does not include on-site assembly or second-fix installations.
Resembling sturdy steel concert stage frameworks, these printers incorporate robotic arms that follow pre-programmed instructions. Heated and solidified mixtures are extruded through nozzles, effectively transforming digital designs into tangible structures.
While these printers are incredibly efficient, human oversight remains essential for addressing technical issues and incorporating essential elements such as plumbing and wiring into the construction process.
Part 3: What 3D Printed Homes Cost?
Costs for 3D printed houses vary widely due to factors such as location, size, materials, and design complexity. However, developers both in the U.S. and abroad report average savings of 30%. The first 3D-printed home hit the U.S. market in 2021, a 1,407-square-foot house in Riverhead, New York, listed for $299,999.
ICON, a 3D-printing construction company, claims it can build a 600 to 800-square-foot home for as low as $4,000 in 24 hours. Luxury models like House Zero, a 2,000-square-foot mid-century home, can exceed $1 million due to unique design features.
Part 4: 10 Innovative 3D Printed Houses
The University of Maine's Advanced Structures and Composites Center is using bio-resins and wood fibers for 3D-printed housing. The BioHome3D project includes a 600-square-foot prototype with a fully 3D-printed floor and roof.
This one-bedroom, one-bathroom structure is 100% recyclable and made of biodegradable materials, including wood flour. It features monitoring sensors to collect data on thermal, environmental, and structural aspects for future design improvements, addressing labor shortages and affordable housing access.
4.2: EAST 17TH STREET RESIDENCES
ICON's four Austin, Texas properties showcase open layouts, private yards, and two to four bedrooms spanning 1,000 to 2,000 square feet. The ground floors feature durable "Lavacrete" cement-based materials for longevity, while the second stories use traditional construction materials. These homes come in a color palette of green, white, and terracotta and have all been sold.
4.3: HOUSE 1.0
In collaboration with 3D-printing manufacturer COBOD, Danish startup 3DCP Group created Europe's first 3D-printed tiny house in just 22 hours, completing the entire structure in five weeks. Located in Hostelbro, Denmark, this 398-square-foot dwelling features an efficient layout with a bathroom, open-plan kitchen, living room, and loft-style bedroom. It minimizes costs by using affordable materials like concrete and adopting a low-waste construction approach.
4.4: HOUSE ZERO
ICON collaborated with architectural firm Lake|Flato to construct a 2,350-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath residence near downtown Austin, Texas. This house, named House Zero, features curved walls insulated with Lavacrete and reinforced with steel. Designed for net-zero energy consumption, it made Time's Best Inventions of 2022 list. ICON has since initiated a 100-home project, aiming to create the largest 3D-printed residential community in the United States.
4.5: KAMP C
Belgian company Kamp C achieved a remarkable feat by 3D printing a two-story demo house in just three weeks on-site. The structure boasts impressive compressive strength, attributed to a specialized printer from COBOD. With smooth surfaces and robust layers, this 967-square-foot house stands at nearly 27 feet tall and utilizes sustainable features like low-energy floor and ceiling heating powered by solar panels and a heat pump.
Mense-Korte's pioneering 3D-printed house in Beckum, Germany, holds the distinction of being the first to receive full certification from a national government's building regulation. Spanning 1,722 square feet, this modern three-bedroom, three-bathroom residence boasts a sophisticated interior and smart-home technology.
Constructed with multi-shell walls of in-situ concrete, it took eight months to complete, with 100 hours of active printing time. The design incorporates amenities such as a fireplace, bathtubs, and a balcony, with dedicated spaces for second-fix installations.
4.7: MIGHTY HOUSE QUATRO
In a gated hilltop community in southern California, Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects have created a 20-home net-zero development. Constructed in roughly four months, each 1,171-square-foot home includes two bedrooms and two bathrooms.
These modern, minimalist homes feature amenities such as a swimming pool, hot tub, fire pit, and floor-to-ceiling windows. Collaborating with construction company Mighty Buildings, known for its automotive-inspired manufacturing, the project boasts highly scalable micro-factories and 3D-printing methods twice as fast as traditional construction. This approach generates 99% less waste, and Mighty Buildings has developed a proprietary light stone material with four times the strength of traditional concrete used in architectural 3D printing.
4.8: PROJECT MILESTONE
Project Milestone, featuring five 3D-printed concrete homes, marked the world's first commercial housing project of its kind. The initial 1,011-square-foot dwelling was 3D-printed on-site in 120 hours as 24 separate parts. These innovative homes in Eindhoven, a tech-savvy Dutch city, resemble elongated boulders.
They boast extra-thick insulation and connect to the heat grid for exceptional energy efficiency. Dutch couple Elize Lutz and Harrie Dekkers became the first tenants on April 30, 2021.
Tecla, developed in partnership with 3D-printing company WASP and Mario Cucinella Architects, introduces bioclimatic, low-carbon housing to combat global climate and housing challenges. Its unique double-dome structure consists of 350 layers of locally sourced clay.
With a footprint of 538 square feet and a height of approximately 15 feet, Tecla incorporates organic bio-materials and features two skylights. The project took a total of 200 hours to complete, with active printing taking 72 hours.
4.10: Wolf Ranch
Danish architecture studio BIG and American 3D-printing firm ICON have unveiled a full-sized model home in Texas as part of the "largest-scale development of 3D-printed homes globally."
Located in the Wolf Ranch neighborhood of Georgetown, Texas, the project features 100 houses, showcasing the fusion of Texas ranch style with modern architecture and energy efficiency. Utilizing ICON's Vulcan robotic construction systems and advanced materials, the project emphasizes sustainability and design flexibility through 3D-printing the entire wall system.
Italian architects partnered with 3D-printing experts to create Tecla, a remarkable 538 sq-ft clay structure combating climate issues. 3D-printed houses are durable, lasting over a century when properly constructed.
For those inspired by the innovative Tecla project and interested in exploring 3D printing further, consider Creality for top-quality 3D printers and printing materials to embark on your own sustainable building journey.