EL COSMICO 3 D printed Sunday Homes front concept render
ICON Projects

Liz Lambert Teams Up with ICON and BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group to Reimagine and 3D Print New El Cosmico in Marfa, Texas

By Brooke Bauguess

More than 60-acre Community Development & Expansion to Feature Housing, Hospitality Amenities & First 3D-printed Hotel

New Partnership Brings a Touch of Marfa to the Austin Skyline with the First 3D-printed Outdoor Performance Pavilion at The Long Center for The Performing Arts

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AUSTIN, TX, March 8, 2023 – Today, hospitality visionary Liz Lambert announced that her team has joined forces with ICON, the leader of advanced construction technologies pioneering large-scale 3D printing and BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group, world renowned Architecture firm, to reimagine and rebuild El Cosmico, currently a 21-acre unique campground hotel in Marfa, TX. The relocation and expansion of El Cosmico to more than 60 acres will showcase entirely new architectural approaches made possible by large-scale 3D-printing including domes, arches, vaults and parabolic forms. The innovative development will feature El Cosmico guest units in addition to new hospitality programming, including a pool, spa, and shared communal facilities. Breaking ground in 2024, El Cosmico will continue to celebrate the convergence of creative culture and the minimalistic natural environment of the Marfa landscape.

The new El Cosmico hotel provides a much-needed respite with the pool serving as the refreshing heart for activities like the bathhouse and restaurant.

“I have had a vision for the evolution of El Cosmico for many years that includes several spaces that add to the experience both for guests and locals – a pool, a hammam, and more space for art and skills-building workshops,” said Liz Lambert. “In collaborating with the revolutionary thinkers at BIG and ICON, not only do I get to fulfill this dream, but we get to do it using this incredible 3D printing technology that marries the oldest principles of raw earth-based building with a futuristic technology that works more quickly, sustainably and efficiently than modern construction. What’s more, the innovation and beauty of the types of structures we can build extends far beyond the box. It’s fitting that ICON has a contract with NASA to build the first dwellings on the moon and on Mars. I’m excited that we get to explore their incredible work right here in our own little cosmic landscape under the stars in far West Texas.”

El Cosmico's exceptional fusion of the cosmic sky and high desert terrain is celebrated by a single 3D-printed wall that spirals around the raised bed platform, providing a framed view to the sky.

The design for the expansion and re-imagination of the El Cosmico hotel and housing is informed by this unique connection between the high desert landscape and cosmic organizations. The new hotel and homes feature organic curves and domes, a primordial architectural language that can only be achieved by 3D-printing. ICON’s technology excels at creating soft shapes and curved surfaces, making it possible to bring this design vision to life. The project provides a natural continuation of unique experiences, building on El Cosmico’s legacy at the intersection of art, nature and hospitality in Marfa, TX. Another facet of the project will be to assess the opportunity to 3D-print affordable housing in Marfa to serve the evolving needs of the town.

The new hotel lodgings feature organic curves and domes, a primordial architectural language that can only be achieved by 3D-printing.

“Our collaboration with El Cosmico and ICON has allowed us to pursue the formal and material possibilities of cutting edge 3D-printed construction untethered by the traditional limitations of a conventional site or client,” said Bjarke Ingels, Founder & Creative Director, BIG. “Liz Lambert's legacy for reimagining hospitality and her pioneering of a contemporary Texan aesthetic combined with the minimalistic nature and culture, art and landscape of Marfa has been the perfect fit to pursue a new architectural vernacular language for El Cosmico in Marfa. Organic shapes, Euclidian circular geometries and a color palette born from the local terroir makes El Cosmico feel as if literally erected from the site it stands on.”

While one side of the house remains solid, the opposite side opens up to unveil the vibrant life of the West Texas back porch.

The collection of the BIG-designed two, three and four bedroom homes feature expansive views of the Davis Mountains and range from 1,200 sq. ft to 2,200 sq. ft. Reservations will begin Summer 2023. To sign up to be the first to hear when reservations open, visit elcosmicohomes.com.

“The truly unique and divergent architectures made possible by 3D printing are really just beginning,” said Jason Ballard, co-founder and CEO of ICON. “One of the great joys of ICON is putting our technology into the hands of great creatives and seeing what possibilities emerge. The collaboration with Liz and Bjarke is a total dream, and it’s a tremendous honor for us to join them at the forefront of design and architecture. Liz is truly the Queen of Cool and one of the national treasures of Texas. It is incredible to help her cosmic imaginings become earthly reality.”

To celebrate this exciting announcement, the teams have partnered with The Long Center for the Performing Arts to bring a taste of El Cosmico to Austin, Texas in the form of the first 3D-printed performance pavilion that parallels and reflects architectural design themes—cosmic organizations, perfect geometries, and organic forms—planned for the new El Cosmico in Marfa, TX. The design combines and extends some of these themes into a single, sculptural piece that serves as a landmark and a gathering space for culture, community, and the city in the heart of downtown Austin.

"The cosmic inspired amphitheater is a gift from Liz Lambert, ICON, and the Bjarke Ingels Group to the City of Austin and The Long Center as a creative expression of the best of Texas optimism, creativity, and innovation.

“Austin is witnessing history in the making with the world’s first and only 3D-printed performance pavilion. This state-of-the-art stage will offer a central community gathering place with unparalleled access to the arts, thanks to our collaboration with local innovators, ICON and Liz Lambert, and globally-renowned architecture firm, BIG,” said Cory Baker, CEO, The Long Center for the Performing Arts. “The Hartman concert lawn at the Long Center offers the best view of Austin’s skyline and, now, this new outdoor venue in such a vibrant area will help us further our mission of being the city’s most diverse performing and cultural arts hub. On this much-needed new platform, we look forward to showcasing a variety of perspectives and voices that represent and appeal to our growing community.”

“ICON's robotic construction technology does more than build the world a little cheaper and faster, we make entirely new things possible that I believe speak to us more profoundly. I hope everyone who sees the pavilion will agree that it awakens something positive in the human heart. We are honored to offer this tribute to the work and clear legacy of the Long Center: art, creative culture, and community." - Jason Ballard, Co-founder and CEO, ICON

About ICON

ICON develops advanced construction technologies that advance humanity. Using proprietary 3D printing robotics, software and advanced materials, ICON is shifting the paradigm of homebuilding on Earth and beyond. ICON continues to set new standards for delivering innovative, resilient and dignified housing and structures through automated construction technologies. Raising $451 million to date in funding, ICON has delivered communities of 3D-printed homes in the U.S. and internationally and forged partnerships with world-renowned architects, builders, and housing organizations. For more information visit www.iconbuild.com or follow the conversation on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube (@ICON3DTech).

About El Cosmico

El Cosmico is a 21-acre nomadic hotel and campground in Marfa, Texas. In keeping with the belief that life should be a balance of adventure and do-nothingness, it offers shelter, occasional entertainment, opportunity for learning/doing/making, and access to the majesty of the high plains desert. Accommodations at El Cosmico include a variety of nomadic structures from trailer to tepees to safari tents as well as tent campsites. The property also offers several communal spaces for guests from a hammock grove to a fireside HQ living room and provision company. El Cosmico is also home to the Trans-Pecos Festival of Music and Love - an intimate multi-day, multimedia festival of sensory delights, held underneath the vast Chihuahuan Desert sky.

About BIG

BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group is a Copenhagen, New York, London and Barcelona based group of architects, designers, urbanists, landscape professionals, interior and product designers, researchers and inventors. The office is currently involved in a large number of projects throughout Europe, North America, Asia and the Middle East. BIG’s architecture emerges out of a careful analysis of how contemporary life constantly evolves and changes. By hitting the fertile overlap between pragmatic and utopia, we architects once again find the freedom to change the surface of our planet, to better fit contemporary life forms.

About the Long Center

The Long Center is an iconic cultural hub and community gathering place – a reflection of the eclectic and creative soul of Austin. Built in 2008 and with a local history that spans many more generations, we are dedicated to elevating Austin’s creative sector. A catalyst for innovative experiences and creative discovery, we uplift the artistic community and connect communities near and far every day.