“Housing doesn’t have to be a crisis”

It was only one year and one week ago today that the first 3D printed home was constructed right in our own backyard. Well, not literally our backyard, but a fellow Austinite living on the East side. (Shout out to the Eastsiders for continuing to be among some of the most progressive ATX dwellers)

The CEO of ICON, Jason Ballard, asked the best man in his wedding if he could plant the first 3D printed home in his backyard off Chicon Street. I can only imagine this was discussed and decided upon over a number of cocktails just next door in a dark corner at Weather Up.

“Walls in general will be a first for most.”

After obtaining the first city permit in America to build a 3D printed home, it was in just two sleeps (roughly 47 hours) later, Austin’s very own 3D concrete star was born. Over the last year Icon has spent 99% of it’s time perfecting the technology used to construct these homes. One year ago the maiden build had about a 10% error margin, today it’s less than 1% and the home can be built in less than 24 hours, all thanks to, drum roll please, the Vulcan II.

Shot of the bedroom in the 350sqft home

Nestled within the fastest growing city in America, the Vulcan II combined with ICON’s secret sauce, Lavacrete, this startup is ready to take on the world. They have a new project unfolding in Latin America with plans to build a community that will provide safe, sustainable housing for over 1500 residents, vastly improving current living conditions. Walls in general will be a first for most.

Jason Ballard bestowing all of his 3D wisdom on the tour guests

The highlights (IMHO):

  • Less than $10,000 to construct a 350sqft livable home
  • Heats/cools the same as traditional building construction insulation
  • Building is the #1 human activity negatively impacting the environment (yes, more than agriculture, I said the same thing)
  • Traditional building material is the #1 contributor to US Landfills

In conclusion, once NASA calls and considers your tech for possible future outer space housing, I think you’ve arrived. Well done, ICON, thanks for showing us how it’s done.

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