In partnership with Austin–based construction technologies company ICON, and nonprofit New Story, Yves Béhar has revealed plans to build the world's first 3D-printed community this summer in a yet-to-be-disclosed, semi-rural location in Latin America. The ambitious project plans to provide homes for over 50 families.
Images of ICON's proof of concept home in Austin (courtesy of ICON)
The project adapted ICON's $4,000 3D-printed home—which debuted during SXSW in 2018—through a variety of community workshops. "As we spoke to the community members, we realized that a single house design doesn't respond to the needs and expectations. This led us to design a system that allows for different programs, climate factors, and growth for families and spaces," noted Béhar. The community is said to be comprised mainly of farmers and palm weavers of varying ages, who often live in multigenerational homes and typically on less than $200 per month.
The designs feature outdoor kitchens and space for residents to keep chickens and gardens. Inside, an open living space with a clerestory is a response to the tropical climate and designed to maximize ventilation. 3D-printing allows for lots of built-in elements such as counters in the kitchen and bathroom, seating, shelves and ledges in the walls and embedded structural hooks for closets, storage, and clotheslines. Each lot is 1,300 square feet, while the living space adds up to approximately 600 square feet.
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"We've created options and areas for customization that families can choose from to help them personalize their homes, feel a sense of ownership, community, and security," Béhar added. One such tweak would be adding a tint to the concrete to allow for different color walls and a diverse feel once the community is complete. "The design and technology also allow the home to adapt to the local environmental conditions such as climate and seismic activity with simple enhancements to the base structure, by incorporating additional reinforcement into the wall cavities and using the walls themselves to resist lateral movement."
Working off of their prototype in Austin, ICON developed the portable printer that will build the homes out of local concrete. The device is engineered to work in remote areas that may lack access to water, power, and labor infrastructure. Once things get off the ground, they're expected to move quickly—each home can be printed in just 24 hours with nearly zero waste.