ICON, a Texas-based construction 3D printing company with houses already on the market, is partnering with Lennar, one of the largest American homebuilding companies, to build a new 3D printed community. To consist of 100 residences, the project aims to become the largest grouping of 3D printed homes and is expected to break ground next year.
For the ambitious construction project, ICON and Lennar are working in cooperation with architecture firm BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group. Together, they will design and construct a collection of contemporary homes characterized by different spatial concepts. While many details about the home designs have yet to be divulged, ICON has revealed that the homes will put a modernized spin on the suburban home and leverage 3D printing’s design freedom to integrate curved walls and other “distinctive touchpoints”.
“Additive manufacturing has the potential to revolutionize the built environment as it gets adopted by the industry at scale,” said Martin Voelkle, Partner, BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group. “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 partnership announcement between ICON and Lennar follows the latter’s investment in the 3D printing company in August (Lennar participated in ICON’s $207 million Series B financing round). This investment was led by LENX, a group within Lennar that is driving the adoption of cutting-edge technologies and solutions for homebuilding while also providing support to technology companies in the construction space. ICON was particularly interesting to LENX because of its ability to produce homes efficiently and affordably.
“Labor and material shortages are two of the biggest factors pushing the dream of homeownership out of reach for many American families,” explained Eric Feder, President of LENX. “Lennar has always expanded the boundaries of technological innovation to keep quality homes affordable and 3D printing is an immensely encouraging approach. We are excited to collaborate with ICON to develop solutions to emerging challenges in the coming years.”
Jason Ballard, Co-Founder and CEO of ICON, added: “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 honor and a huge milestone for ICON to partner with Lennar, an elite top-tier homebuilder with a commitment to innovation.”
The 3D printed community project will of course be centered on ICON’s Vulcan construction platform, which in its current iteration is capable of producing homes spanning up to 3,000 square feet that meet IBC standards. The 3D printed homes are also comparable (possibly even superior) to standard Concrete Masonry Unit (CMU) homes in terms of durability and longevity.
Recently, ICON and partner 3Strands unveiled a series of four homes in Austin, Texas. At the time of the unveiling, two of four homes had already been sold. The company also teamed up with the Texas Military Department to construct a 3,800-sq-ft training barracks to house up to 72 soldiers or airmen.