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Did You Know You Can Actually 3D Print a Modern House?

The idea of 3D printing a home still seems like an interesting experiment and less like an actual reality, but in today’s world it can be done. Large-scale, 3D printing powerhouse, ICON, recently unveiled its newest 3D-printed home – House Zero – in Austin, Texas during SXSW. House Zero marks ICON’s first go using their proprietary concrete wall printing system Vulcan and its own Lavacrete material. The project has come about with Lake|Flato designing the home and collaborating throughout the process with ICON’s software developers, robotic engineers, and material scientists to kick off ICONs “Exploration Series.” Lake|Flato designed the mid-century modern ranch house to be energy efficient – net zero, to be exact – and with the new digital capabilities of additive construction, elevated architectural design opportunities are endless.

Inside the three-bedroom, two-bath house, you’d never imagine a 3D-printing robot created the linear walls that add texture to the space. The concrete-like grey walls paired with the wood panels result in a cozy yet modern atmosphere. With the Vulcan’s ability to print all kinds of walls, from wavy to rounded curves to flat, homes can be designed as basic or as outrageous as desired.

“House Zero is ground zero for the emergence of entirely new design languages and architectural vernaculars that will use robotic construction to deliver the things we need most from our housing: comfort, beauty, dignity, sustainability, attainability, and hope.”

– Jason Ballard, co-founder and CEO of ICON

The walls are made with ICON’s cement-based material, Lavacrete, insulation, and steel for reinforcing, which slows down heat transfer into the home. With thermal mass, increased insulation, and airtight walls, the energy efficiency goes up and lifecycle costs go down.

Photos by Casey Dunn.

Caroline Williamson is Editorial Director of Design Milk. She has a BFA in photography from SCAD and can usually be found searching for vintage wares, doing New York Times crossword puzzles in pen, or reworking playlists on Spotify.