AUSTIN (CBS Local) — A Texas-based company is using 3D printing technology to find a solution to the growing problem of affordable housing around the world.
Austin startup ICON unveiled a new method of mass producing small homes with a massive 3D printer in a process that the company says takes just 12 to 24 hours. At the annual film and innovation festival known as SXSW, the company showed off how it could construct a 650-square-foot house out of cement in one day.
Partnering with housing solutions nonprofit New Story, the Texas builders are hoping to achieve their vision of creating sustainable, “quality homes accessible to everyone.” ICON isn’t just focused on building homes fast, but is aiming to make them extremely affordable as well.
Using an industrial sized Vulcan printer, ICON says it can currently build their single-story home for $10,000 but is working to drop that cost to just $4,000. “It’s much cheaper than the typical American home,” ICON co-founder Jason Ballard told The Verge. In comparison, some Americans have chosen to downsize into “tiny homes” which can cost nearly $40,000 and are only between 200 and 400-square-feet in size.
“(ICON) believes, as do I, that 3D printing is going to be a method for all kinds of housing,” New Story co-founder Alexandria Lafci added. The presentation at SXSW comes after a report from the World Resources Institute estimated that 1.2 billion people live in cities without affordable or secure housing.
The partners are hoping to build a community of 100 3D-printed homes in El Salvador next year.