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Can 3D-Printed Homes Solve the Housing Crisis?

By Mihaela Lica Butler | June 19, 2023

ICON announced the first 3D-printed homes in Georgetown, Texas, at the beginning of June. Only six of 100 homes from the Genesis Collection at Wolf Ranch are available to welcome new owners, and the rate they attract homebuyers will determine the future of the project in particular and the future of 3D technology in homebuilding in general. 

Nevertheless, Conner Jenkins, Director of Project Operations at ICON, already believes that 3D represents the future of home building technology. 

ICON 3D printed homes
ICON 3D-printed homes - the process.
ICON 3D printed interior
ICON 3D-printed home interior mockup.
3d printed homes ICON complex
Genesis Collection at Wolf Ranch - 100 3D-printed homes in Georgetown, Texas

The project led by ICON and Lennar will feature 100 buildings co-designed by BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group. The price for a futuristic 3D home with contemporary Texas ranch-style aesthetics and energy-efficient designs starts from $475,000 upwards, depending on the size of the building. 

The first six 3D homes for sale feature a Dyce floorplan with an open kitchen connecting the living and dining spaces, three bedrooms and two bathrooms, a beautiful patio, ample closet space, and two attached garages. Dyce homes offer 1,500 square feet of living space and all the comforts of a modern home. Other floorplans in construction include:

  • Nola - three-bedroom, two-bathroom home with nearly 2,000 square feet of living space.
  • Ezra - four-bedroom, two-bathroom homes with more than 2,000 square feet and flex rooms.
  • Cato - three-bedroom, two-bathroom single-story home with over 1,700 square feet of living space.
  • Jorn - a 1,900 square feet three-bedroom, two-bathroom home.
  • Nye - four-bedroom, two-and-one-half bathroom home with ample living space (2,031 square feet).

The community at Wolf Ranch has excellent amenities for its residents, including a swimming pool, splash park, clubhouse, picnic area, playground, and scenic trails near the San Gabriel River.

Whether 3D homes are a solution for the housing crisis remains to be seen; however, Jason Ballard, ICON co-founder and CEO, believes 3D has this potential:

"In the future, I believe robots and drones will build entire neighborhoods, 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."

Today, the Genesis Collection at Wolf Ranch is the largest community of 3D-printed homes worldwide; however, it is not the only project involving 3D technology. 

Diamond Age Home
Diamond Age home in Casa Grande, Arizona

Phoenix-based startup Diamond Age has a contract with Century Communities to develop the Casa Grande community in Arizona. The first homes here went up for sale at the beginning of 2023. Like ICON's founders, Diamond Age founders believe 3D technology has a solid potential to solve the housing crisis: 

"Advances in robotics and automation are going to transform the residential construction industry and reduce the nation's housing shortage," said Jack Oslan, co-founder and CEO of Diamond Age. "This first community shows how Diamond Age's technology can build quality homes at industrial scale with a traditional look and feel that consumers expect in a sustainable and cost-efficient way. This approach will introduce new generations to homeownership because these homes are truly built to last."

While the technology simplifies the building process, are these homes truly affordable? They have the potential to be, considering that ICON launched Initiative 99, a global architecture competition to design accessible, beautiful, and dignified homes that can be built for under $99,000 earlier this year. 

 "With Initiative 99, we are changing the way that we talk about affordable housing. When we talk about affordable housing, the conversation is often depressing and so are the results. Our goal is that Initiative 99 would in turn create the conditions for affordable housing to be something hopeful, optimistic and exciting, and furthermore catalyzes the building of some really incredible affordable homes that just years ago would not have even been possible. The future could be a wonder, but we have to all work together to make it so," said Jason Ballard, co-founder and CEO of ICON.

There are even more 3D building projects under construction in the USA: 

3D-printed homes are one of the most significant trends of 2023 and are likely to become mainstream in the next decade. 

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Mihaela Lica Butler is senior partner at Pamil Visions PR. She is a widely cited authority on public relations issues, with an experience of over 25 years in online PR, marketing, and SEO.She covers startups, online marketing, social media, SEO, and other topics of interest for Realty Biz News.
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