13th November 2022
Major housing development to be 3D-printed
Work has started on the first large-scale community of 3D-printed homes in the U.S., with reservations to be available in 2023.
Lennar, a leading homebuilder, is collaborating with ICON, a construction technologies company pioneering large-scale 3D printing. Together, they are developing 100 new homes at the master-planned community of Wolf Ranch, by Hillwood Communities, which is located north of Austin, Texas.
The project combines innovative robotics, software, and advanced materials to create buildings that are technologically advanced, environmentally sustainable, and architecturally striking. Each home in Wolf Ranch has been co-designed by Danish architectural firm BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group. Prices are anticipated to start from the mid-$400,000s.
"We are very pleased to partner with ICON and BIG in building a first-of-its-kind, printed home community that combines innovative designs with sustainable features at an affordable price," said Stuart Miller, Executive Chairman of Lennar. "Given the housing shortage that persists across the country, it has never been more important to innovate in order to find new methods of construction that will enable greater design flexibility and greater production at affordable prices."
The buildings feature contemporary Texas ranch-style aesthetics, combined with architectural and energy-efficient designs that highlight the benefits of resiliency and sustainability, while showing the digital possibilities of additive construction. They are being delivered at speed and at scale using a fleet of ICON's Vulcan robotic construction systems. The company's proprietary material, Lavacrete, can be printed at 7"/s while retaining its form, enabling wall systems to be built 2-3 times faster and for just 30% of the cost of traditional methods, keeping construction projects both on schedule and on budget. With a compressive strength as high as 3,500 psi, Lavacrete can withstand extreme weather and reduce the impact of natural disasters, while providing superb insulation. The walls are produced with less waste and more design freedom. Yet another benefit of the automated construction process is fewer on-site accidents.
"For the first time in the history of the world, what we're witnessing here is a fleet of robots building an entire community of homes," said Jason Ballard, CEO and co-founder of ICON. "And not just any homes; homes that are better in every way ... better design, higher strength, higher energy performance and comfort, and increased resiliency. In the future, I believe robots and drones will build entire neighbourhoods, towns, and cities, and we'll look back at Lennar's Wolf Ranch community as the place where robotic construction at scale began. We still have a long way to go, but I believe this marks a very exciting and hopeful turn in the way we address housing issues in the world."
The community will offer eight floorplans with 24 unique elevations, ranging from 1,574 to 2,112 square feet of living space. The homes will offer three to four bedrooms and two to three baths. All homes will be powered by clean energy from rooftop solar panels, and will feature components from Lennar's Connected Home package including a Ring Video Doorbell Pro, a Smart WiFi deadbolt, and Honeywell Home T6 Pro WiFi smart thermostat.
Wolf Ranch, the first project on this scale, is part of a major emerging trend in construction. According to Research and Markets, the global 3D printing construction market – valued at $19 million today – is projected to register a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 100.7% over the next eight years and will grow more than 250-fold to reach almost $5 billion by 2030.
If you enjoyed this article, please consider sharing it: