I’m not sure how I missed this before, but ground has just been broken on what is being called “the world’s largest 3D-printed community.” Co-designed by ICON and Bjarke Ingels Group and “implemented” by Lennar, the community, which is located north of Austin, Texas, will consist of 100 homes ranging from 1,500 to 2,100 square feet. There are 8 different floor plans and 24 different elevations to choose from. Each home will also come with rooftop solar panels.
Here’s a short description on how the overall construction process is working:
To automate the manufacturing of homes ICON is using its Vulcan robotic construction system, a large, transportable printer that can be used in tandem with Magma, a cement mixing machine. The homes are being constructed out of Lavacrete, a durable-concrete polymer added in layers to form the structure’s facade and foundation by Vulcan. Their design blends Texas ranch vernacular with sustainable technology, providing a model for the future of large-scale 3D construction. The residences will adhere to a common design, featuring metal roofs, concrete floors, and distinct curvilinear and rib-textured concrete walls, which are the product of 3D printing.
It is quite a different looking construction site:
Now, there is certainly a conversation to be had about what these machines are building as a housing typology: This is still suburban sprawl, regardless of how the homes are being made and if there are solar panels on the roof. But if you ignore all of this for a minute, there is obviously something pretty incredible about 3D printing being able to now deliver stuff at the scale of a suburban housing project. It represents a fundamental change in how we build, in an industry that has a long history of changing very little.
A futuristic build but with stale design — we still haven’t solved incorporation of the garage without making the house just look like a garage. We even highlight the garages by painting doors/trim a contrasting colour. A little trompe l’oeil is in order, at the least.
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