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This $10,000 3D printed house can be built in 24 hours and is bigger than a studio apartment

Published Mar 12th, 2018 11:34PM EDT
3-D printed house: ICON at SXSW

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One of the less obvious products being unveiled this week at SXSW is a small concrete house. On the outside, it doesn’t look like anything particularly special, although the covered patio and spacious windows are less common on tiny poured-concrete buildings.

That’s because the innovation isn’t in the structure or materials — it’s in the design and building. ICON, the company that builds the 650-square-foot house, claims it costs just $10,000 to build, and can be 3-D printed by a Vulcan printer in 12 to 24 hours using the most common building material on Earth.

ICON is has built a model at SXSW, which features a living room, bedroom, bathroom, and curved porch. The company’s co-founders told The Verge that it will be using the model as an office for the immediate future to see how it performs. “We are going to install air quality monitors. How does it look, and how does it smell?” founder Jason Ballard told The Verge.

In the longer term, ICON has partnered with housing nonprofit New Story to take its technology to the developing world. The plan is for ICON and New Story to build a community of 100 homes in El Salvador next year using the Vulcan printer. Although 3-D printing has been used in building fabrication before, printing on-site using a universally available building material is a new step.

That said, ICON’s structures still presumably rely on a goodly supply of available labor and talent, and a structure won’t be taken from bare earth to habitability with no human interaction. Excavation still has to happen for concrete foundations, and the windows, roof, and interior mechanicals like electricity and plumbing can’t be poured by a printer.

Chris Mills
Chris Mills News Editor

Chris Mills has been a news editor and writer for over 15 years, starting at Future Publishing, Gawker Media, and then BGR. He studied at McGill University in Quebec, Canada.

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