3D Printed Community

By Daniel Neville, Eleanor Trese and Thereza Zephir
JUN 3, 2020

For many people, building a new home can be a real hassle because of expenses and time poured into permits and construction. But the New Story and ÉCHALE charities have partnered with ICON technology to help change that dynamic.

Houses in a 3D printed community
Photo: Joshua Perez

In Tabasoco, Mexico, the charities plan to create a 3D-printed community with houses that are able to withstand the floods and seismic activity that plagues the region. The families who are eligible will be able to purchase new homes at a zero interest, zero profit mortgage at a cost of approximately 400 Mexican pesos (about $20 US) per month. This is for a seven-year mortgage.

The charities are able to 3D print homes using ICON’s Vulcan II, a device that flows cement out of a nozzle to build the house up from the base to the roof, which will be installed by local laborers, along with the plumbing, doors, and electrical systems. The building process takes only about 24 hours. The Vulcan II also features an intuitive tablet-based control system, remote monitoring and support, onboard LED lighting for printing at night or during low-light conditions, and a custom software suite ensuring set-up, operations, and maintenance is as simple and straightforward as possible.

NewStory / ICON Project, in Mexico
Photo: Joshua Perez

The homes are designed to allow for natural ventilation and feature two bedrooms, a living room, kitchen and bath, with the total area of about 500 square feet. According to a NewstoryCharity.org press release, the homes are co-designed with feedback from the families who will live in them, the homes have been created to meet the specific needs of the community. The charities hope that this will help to revolutionize the housing industry, by making better quality housing cheaper and more affordable for poverty stricken people. 

In an article by Kate Grace of ArchDaily.com, she reported that New Story “constructed 2,700 homes to accommodate 15,000 people located in areas such as Haiti, El Salvador, Bolivia and Mexico”. CNN.com reporter Christina Zdanowicz wrote that, “In March 2018, New Story and ICON revealed a three-bedroom home, which took 48 hours to build.” 

Affordable housing is desparately needed
Photo: Joe Gonzales

With this revolutionary method in home building, it may prove to others that there are extremely effective and easy options for creating affordable housing for those who are unable to purchase homes built by conventional means.