TX Firm Designs 3D-Printed Neighborhoods


Overland Partners (San Antonio, Texas) has recently designed an architectural series of proposals for new 3D-printed neighborhoods in Texas.

The architecture firm has teamed up with Kansas-based nonprofit 3 Strands Neighborhoods and Texas-based ICON, manufacturer of printers, robotics and advanced materials to address the current housing crisis in America.

According to FOX 7 Austin, voters already approved $250 million in affordable housing bond money in November.

The Competition

When the project was launched, Overland tasked 12 design teams to design and create affordable, single-family homes that would help to address the loneliness epidemic through natural, informal interactions with neighbors and building communities.

In addition, the teams would also be considering how their ideas would correlate with the use of ICON’s Vulcan II 3D printer in order to revolutionize communities for disadvantaged families.

The printer has been reported to print four times larger buildings and is two-and-a-half times faster than its predecessor, Vulcan I, according to ICON’s CEO and Co-Founder Jason Ballard. Furthermore, the printer is also believed to be about 30 percent cheaper than other building methods, printing a special concrete blend layer by layer.

“ICON is leading the way on truly transformational approaches to how we build homes,” said Gary O’Dell, CEO and co-founder of 3Strands.

“The Vulcan II, and other innovations, will allow us to drive down the costs of building and operating new homes and in turn reduce the stress of housing in people’s lives.”

To tackle this challenge, the teams considered various aspects of the project such as site orientation, energy efficiency, ecology, material selection, water management, resilience and adaptability.

Out of the twelve teams, a panel of judges selected the top three, which they believed met the criteria regarding plan scale, building mass, square footage, material selection and concept narrative. The winners, Team AZA (first place), Team Fluid and Formless (second place) and Team It’s Texas Baby (third), revealed their models at ICON’s 3D Printing the Future event.

Moving forward, the final result of the process will involve a 3D-printed neighborhood of affordable homes slated to be built in the United States.

Innovation in 3D-Printed Living

Today, 3D printing seems to be continuously growing in the architectural world. Back in April 2014, PaintSquare Daily News reported on one of the largest 3D projects of its time, a 13-room traditional Dutch canal house in Amsterdam.

Since that publication, the world has continued to see innovative projects in 3D printing. In September 2018, the Additive Manufacturing Team at Marine Corps Systems Command, in collaboration with Marines from the I Marine Expeditionary Force, used a 3D printer to create a 500-square-foot barracks hut in just 40 hours.

Saudi Arabia is also tackling a similar housing epidemic, resulting in the purchase of what has been labeled as the “world’s largest 3D construction printer,” just last month. The printer is reportedly the first of its kind in the country and is slated to produce 12-by-27-9-meter (39-by-91-foot) buildings, as well as three-story structures of 300 square meters per floor.

The American University in Dubai and 3DVinci Creations have also teamed up this month to establish a scientific research center for 3D printing concrete buildings. The establishment intends to create a consortium in order to drive the use of 3D printing concrete technology in construction with the Middle East, North Africa and Gulf Cooperation Council countries.


Tagged categories: 3D printing; 3D Printing; Competitions; Construction; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); EU; Europe; Housing; Maintenance + Renovation; Middle East; NA; North America; Projects - Commercial; Residential; Residential Construction

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