The neighbourhood that’s going to get 100 3D-printed homes

One of America’s leading homebuilders is joining forces with a construction technologies firm to build the country’s largest community of 3D-printed homes in Texas.

Lennar and ICON are breaking new ground with the development of the 100-strong community, codesigned by the acclaimed architecture firm, BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group, using ICON’s innovating robotics, software, and advanced materials.

ICON’s 3D printing technology produces resilient, energy-efficient homes faster than conventional construction methods with less waste and more design freedom.

Designed and engineered from the ground up for volume 3D printing of homes with precision and speed, ICON claims its Vulcan construction system can deliver homes and structures up to 278sq m that are built to the International Building Code (IBC) structural code standard and expected to last as long or longer than standard Concrete Masonry Unit (CMU) built homes.

ICON’s proprietary wall system and advanced materials are claimed to be stronger and longer-lasting than traditional building materials, providing safer, more resilient homes, designed to withstand extreme weather, reduce the impact of natural disasters, and be printed at high speeds and at scale.

“ICON exists as a response to the global housing crisis and to put our technology in service to the world,” ICON Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Jason Ballard said.

“Construction-scale 3D printing not only delivers higher-quality homes faster and more affordably, but fleets of printers can change the way that entire communities are built for the better.

“The United States faces a deficit of approximately five million new homes, so there is a profound need to swiftly increase supply without compromising quality, beauty, or sustainability and that is exactly the strength of our technology.

“It is an honour and a huge milestone for ICON to partner with Lennar, an elite top-tier homebuilder with a commitment to innovation. We believe this will be a watershed moment in the history of community-scale development and the future breaking into the present.”

An artist’s render of the 3D-printed community in Texas.

The announcement deepens a relationship that began with Lennar’s investment in Austin-based ICON’s recent $207 million financing round and offers a promising path toward delivering affordable, technology-driven homes that meet rising demand. 

“Labor and material shortages are two of the biggest factors pushing the dream of home ownership out of reach for many American families,” Eric Feder, President of LENX, which facilitated Lennar’s investment in ICON’s Series B financing round in August, said.

“Lennar has always expanded the boundaries of technological innovation to keep quality homes affordable and 3D printing is an immensely encouraging approach.”

An artist’s render of the 3D-printed community in Texas.

BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group Partner Martin Voelkle said additive manufacturing had the potential to revolutionise the built environment as it became adopted by the industry at scale.

“By partnering with ICON and Lennar, we are able to see this new technology roll out to the widest possible audience,” he said.

“The 3D-printed architecture and the photovoltaic roofs are innovations that are significant steps towards reducing waste in the construction process, as well as towards making our homes more resilient, sustainable, and energy self-sufficient.”

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Nicole Madigan

Nicole Madigan is a freelance journalist for Elite Agent.