ICON First Permitted 3 D Printed Home side porch Austin TX March2018 Photo Credit Regan Morton Photography
ICON Projects

New Story and ICON Unveil the First Permitted 3D-Printed Home

By Brooke Bauguess

3D Printing Technologies Set to Transform Global Homelessness with 600-800 Square Foot Homes Printed in Under 24 Hours in Underserved Communities

The first permitted, 3D-printed home created specifically for the developing world was unveiled today in Austin, Texas, by New Story, the non-profit working to create a world where no human being lives in survival mode, and ICON, the newly launched construction technologies company leading the way into the future of homebuilding by using 3D printing to make major advancements in affordability, building performance, sustainability and customizability.

The 3D-printed home serves as proof-of-concept for sustainable homebuilding that will allow for safer, more affordable homes for more families, faster than ever. The printer, called the Vulcan, is designed to work under the constraints that are common in places like Haiti and rural El Salvador where power can be unpredictable, potable water is not a guarantee and technical assistance is sparse. It’s designed to tackle housing shortages for vulnerable populations instead of building with profit motivation.

“We feel it’s our responsibility to challenge traditional methods and work toward ending homelessness. Linear methods will never reach the billion+ people who need safe homes,” said Brett Hagler, CEO of New Story. “By working with ICON and leveraging their 3D printing innovations, we’re able to reach more families with the best possible shelter solutions, exponentially faster.”

“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,” says Jason Ballard, co-founder of ICON. “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. This isn’t 10% better, it’s 10 times better.”

The portable printer is designed to function with near zero waste and to work under unpredictable constraints (limited water, power, and labor infrastructure) to tackle housing shortages in underserved communities throughout the world. New Story’s goal for this project is to print the first community of homes for underserved families in Latin America in the coming 18 months, and then through partnerships, scale up production to serve additional communities over the next few years. Housing will feature cutting-edge materials tested to the most recognized standards of safety, comfort and resiliency.

More than just New Story using the technology to reach more families, the hope is that this catalytic R&D project that will influence the sector as a whole. Through the technology, the team will learn, iterate, and then share the technology with other nonprofits and governments to help everyone improve and reach families faster.

The high-powered innovators behind ICON and the first global initiative with New Story include a cross-section of engineers, environmentalists, designers and entrepreneurs. ICON and New Story worked in close partnership with several other organizations to develop the Vulcan printer, including Pump Studios, Yaskawa Electric, Alchemy Builders, TreeHouse, Andrew Logan Architecture, Linestar Automation and The University of Texas.