ICON, a startup from Austin in Texas, has found a possible way to solve the world’s mass housing problem: with 3D printing, albeit a humongous version.
Recently at SXSW, the company unveiled a single-story 65-square-foot house that was built in under 24 hours using a giant 3D printer. The humble abode comes complete with the essentials. There’s a bedroom, a bathroom, a living room, and even a porch.
According to co-founder Jason Ballard, the model home will be used as an office first to see if it can be habitable.
“We are going to install air quality monitors. How does it look, and how does it smell?” he told The Verge.
With the 3D printer’s ability to churn out affordable houses (it costs around US$10,000 or AUS$12,880) quickly, it could provide homes to more than 1.2 billion people worldwide who are without decent housing.
In fact, that’s what ICON plans to do. The company has partnered up with non-profit New Story to provide low-cost housing to 100 beneficiaries in El Salvador by the end 2018. Hopefully, by then, ICON would have fulfilled their promise of bringing the cost down to US$4,000 (or AUS$5,150), making 3D printing a truly viable construction alternative.
“Conventional construction methods have many baked-in drawbacks and problems that we’ve taken for granted for so long that we forgot how to imagine any alternative,” said Ballard.
“With 3D printing, you not only have a continuous thermal envelope, high thermal mass, and near zero-waste, but you also have speed, a much broader design palette, next-level resiliency, and the possibility of a quantum leap in affordability.
He concluded: “This isn’t 10% better, it’s 10 times better.”
Via My Modern Met