I Stayed in Icon’s New Luxury 3D Printed Home in Austin, Texas
The walls of the main home and its accessory dwelling unit were printed at the same time in eight days despite weather and hardware issues.
Icon began printing House Zero in May 2021 and the rest of the home — like window installation, wiring, and plumbing — was completed in February 2022.
When the home was completed, Icon invited me to spend a night in the new three-bedroom, 2-½ bathroom build …
… and the unique construction tech, curved concrete walls, and high-end finishes made House Zero one of the most interestingly designed homes in which I’ve stayed.
Spending a night in House Zero made me realize 3D printing homes could be a strategic and functional construction method while still producing beautiful yet comfortable homes.
Many 3D printing enthusiasts view the tech as a path toward alleviating housing shortages and improving affordability.
Like House Zero, a home that could take about a year to build “traditionally” can be printed and completed in just several months …
… enabling home builders to construct housing cheaper, faster, and more sustainably by using fewer materials and less labor.
But while the technology may be heralded as a way to build more-affordable homes quicker, House Zero is far from an example of a budget-friendly home.
Source: Insider, Insider
The house — designed with the help of Lake Flato Architects — was styled to be a show home for Icon: a place to take investors, the public, and journalists.
It was meant to flex the range and practicality of Icon’s printing technology, Jason Ballard, Icon’s cofounder and CEO, told Insider in an interview.
And like all stereotypical model homes, House Zero is filled with high-end furniture and finishes meant to woo even the most discerning visitors.
The rounded walls caught my attention as I drove by the Austin, Texas, home for the first time …
A building with this much exposed concrete is often associated with brutalist architecture, but nothing about House Zero screamed “brutalism” to me.
Icon’s in-house “high strength” concrete combined with the curved wall design made House Zero look organic and free-flowing.
Until this build I had never seen a layered sloping wall before. And now, I want something similar in my future home.
And it’s not just for aesthetic reasons. The shape strengthens the home’s structure while serving as a natural open-air separation of space.
“We’re not only going to invent robots — we’re also going to invent architecture,” Ballard said. “And it’s not clear that robotics companies have any business inventing architecture.”
Curvature aside, the striking layered walls — which were strengthened with steel and insulation — were unlike anything I had seen inside a home.
There was no need for art on the walls — the gray layers naturally became a focal point of the home’s rooms …
… while the wooden walls and accents kept the space from appearing too cold and drab.
The first room off the entryway is the open-concept kitchen, living room, and dining room.
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