BIG has unveiled its plan to build the largest 3D-printed neighbourhood in Austin, comprised of 100 homes, using ICON’s innovative robotics, software, and advanced materials.
ICON is a construction technology company that aims to solve three critical problems in the building industry: affordability, sustainability, and availability. Through pioneering 3D-printing techniques, ICON aims to build affordable homes that are also resilient, energy-efficient and constructed faster than the conventional construction methods.
“ICON exists as a response to the global housing crisis and to put our technology in service to the world. Construction-scale 3D-printing not only delivers higher-quality homes faster and more affordably, but fleets of printers can change the way entire communities are built for the better,” said ICON’s co-founder and CEO, Jason Ballard.
“The United States faces a deficit of approximately 5 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.”
ICON is able to deliver sustainable homes on schedule and budget using its Vulcan construction system. This ground-up technology can produce homes and structures up to 3,000 square feet single-story homes, generating less waste and more design freedom.
The Vulcan utilises ICON’s proprietary Lavacrete as the printing material, which can retain its form while printing at high speeds. The material is mixed on location using Magma, an end-to-end automated material delivery system, which feeds Vulcan printers with Lavacrete. This high strength concrete boasts a compressive strength of 6000 psi and able to withstand extreme weather events.
“Additive manufacturing has the potential to revolutionise the built environment as it gets adopted by the industry at scale,” said Martin Voelkle, Partner, BIG –Bjarke Ingels Group.
Martin continues, “By partnering with ICON and Lennar, we are able to see this new technology roll out to the widest possible audience. 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.”
The project is developed by Lennar, which earlier invested in Austin-based ICON with a $207-million financing round, promising to deliver affordable 3D-printed homes for the rising demand.
BIG is a Copenhagen, New York, London and Barcelona based group of architects, designers, urbanists, landscape professionals, interior and product designers, researchers and inventors. BIG is currently involved in a large number of projects throughout Europe, North America, Asia and the Middle East. BIG’s architecture emerges out of a careful analysis of how contemporary life constantly evolves and changes. Not least due to the influence from multicultural exchange, global economical flows and communication technologies that all together require new ways of architectural and urban organization.