Technology 3 min read

How 3D-Printed Houses Could Reduce Homelessness Significantly

Homelessness is permanently on the rise globally, and 3D-printed houses may be one of the fastest and cheapest ways of solving the problem all over the globe.

3D-printed houses may be the simplest way of housing the millions of individuals in need in developing countries. | Image By ilterriorm | Shutterstock

3D-printed houses may be the simplest way of housing the millions of individuals in need in developing countries. | Image By ilterriorm | Shutterstock

A construction-technology startup is proposing to build 3D-printed homes in 24 hours and for under $4,000 — a fast and cheap solution to homelessness.

3D printing technology for construction comes with two major advantages: cost and time. It also comes with the added benefit of giving architects more control over their creations.

Construction 3D printers can turn models into life-size homes a lot faster and cheaper compared to traditional techniques.

Some embrace the artistic freedom 3D printing technology gives them to build houses with futuristic designs and fancy neighborhoods, like the Project Milestone in Eindhoven.

One homebuilding startup, called ICON, is going the other way, building cheap 3D-printed houses in a few hours to cater to the low-end class in the social hierarchy.

3D Printed Homes to Tackle Homelessness

About one in seven people in the world, or 1.2 billion, lack adequate housing, and the number is expected to rise to 1.6 billion people by 2025.

An Austin-based homebuilding company called ICON proposes to resolve the global homelessness crisis with its 3D-printing tech.

ICON says it’s “dedicated to revolutionizing homebuilding. Through proprietary 3D printing technologies and cutting-edge materials, ICON provides sustainable solutions to a number of our world’s most pressing issues, including the global pandemic of homelessness; the increasingly inaccessible cost of home ownership in America and abroad.”

ICON is partnering with New Story, a non-profit organization based in San Francisco, with the goal of 3D printing 100 homes in El Salvador using concrete, and unveiled a fully functional model at SXSW this year.

ICON was one of the winners of the 2018 SXSW Accelerator Pitch Event.

This first 350 square foot house in Austin, Texas, which serves as a proof-of-concept, was built in around 48 hours and cost $10,000, using the Vulcan I, the 3D-printer ICON developed.

But ICON says it will bring both the construction time and costs down.

To be built in the coming 18 months, each of the 100 homes in the El Salvador community will be 600-800 sq. f and will take less than 24 hours to print while costing under $4,000.

The true proof-of-concept for ICON and New Story endeavor is the El Salvador project that will show how these 3D-printed houses work as a community and provide an example to follow for other underserved areas in the world.

Do you think 3D-printed houses are a viable solution to helping end homelessness?

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Zayan Guedim

Trilingual poet, investigative journalist, and novelist. Zed loves tackling the big existential questions and all-things quantum.

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