New Story + ICON : 3D Printed Homes for the Developing World

ICON partnered with the non-profit organization New Story to build the very first 3D-printed house in the United States. The recently launched construction technologies firm is at the forefront of homebuilding by employing 3D printing to make key breakthroughs in affordability, building performance, sustainability and customizability.

Austin, Texas is now able to claim the United States’ first permitted 3D printed home. To construct the dwelling, ICON developed a portable 3D printer known as the Vulcan. It was created to perform under the difficulties which can be frequent in places like Haiti and rural El Salvador where electric power might be unstable, safe and clean drinking water is not a guarantee and technical assistance is sparse. It is meant to deal with housing shortages for vulnerable communities rather than building with profit motivation.

The production model of the printer will have the capability to print a single story, 600-800 sq . ft . house within 24 hours for under $4,000. As an integral part of this effort, ICON has developed cutting-edge materials tested to the highest standards of safety, comfort and resiliency and was made to operate with nearly zero waste production methods.

New Story is an excellent test platform for the new 3D printing technology as it is a non-profit that already has deep roots in communities in Mexico, Haiti, El Salvador, and Bolivia. In three years, the non-profit has financed over 1,300 homes for families in need at a cost of about $6,500.

“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.”

New Story is seeking $600,000 from Founding Innovation Partners by April 13th. This funding will allow the project to finish the development of the printer in preparation for building the initial community of printed houses in El Salvador. It will be an exemplary community, stepping into Phase III: scaling 3D home printed communities throughout the developing world.