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Texas Is Getting a New Neighborhood, But It's Something Out of a Science Fiction Novel

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More and more tech companies are fleeing to Austin, bringing advancements and also adding to the already precarious state of housing. But one Austin-based 3D-printing company is planning to offer a community with 100 more homes, the first of its kind, built using its groundbreaking, large-scale 3D printer.

ICON, the 3D-printing company, has been testing out its machine and methods through small-scale projects that have been promising.



“ICON has delivered two dozen 3D-printed homes and structures to date across the U.S. and Mexico, the most completed by any construction tech company,” its FAQ page states.

In September 2019, it also partnered with a local charity that serves the homeless community to build a visitor center and six tiny homes.

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“The whole ICON team was honored to deliver a beautiful welcome center for Community First! Village, one of the most innovative developments in Austin,” Jason Ballard, co-founder and CEO of ICON, said, according to an update on ICON’s website.

“Their non-stop work to love and serve our sisters and brothers experiencing homelessness is inspiring and makes all of us at ICON want to bring the very best of ourselves to the job. All the late nights, blood, sweat and tears at the lab … this is what it’s for.

“We’re proud to deliver buildings like this to Community First!, and I think all of Austin can be proud that two local, home-grown ventures are working on these issues together in such an innovative way. I hope this makes Austin proud too.”



Tim Shea, 71, was the first person to live in one of the tiny homes, and now ICON has set its sights on an even larger project.

Teaming up with Lennar, a home-building company, the two have planned to build the largest 3D-printed community of 100 homes near Austin, starting in 2022.

ICON will use its Vulcan 3D printer, which can print single-story homes up to 3,000 square feet using a mix called “Lavacrete” that can cut building costs, lasts longer than conventional practices and can handle extreme weather.



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“ICON exists as a response to the global housing crisis and to put our technology in service to the world,” Ballard said, according to another update.

“Construction-scale 3D printing not only delivers higher-quality homes faster and more affordably, but fleets of printers can change the way that entire communities are built for the better. 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. We believe this will be a watershed moment in the history of community-scale development and the future breaking into the present.”

While it will be interesting to watch how this monumental undertaking comes to life, ICON has its sights set even higher for their future projects, mentioning that they are also looking into the “development of construction systems for further exploration of the Moon and eventually Mars.”

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Location
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking




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