Construction of the world's largest community of 3D-printed homes is expected to break ground next year in Austin, Texas.
Lennar, the nation's second-largest homebuilder, has teamed up with ICON, a technology pioneer specializing in large-scale 3D printing, to "print" 100 single-story houses using a giant 3D printer on-site to lay concrete-based building material.
Lennar Co-CEO Jon Jaffe recently stressed that the entire building industry faced shortages of materials and skyrocketing costs. To solve this problem, the company is turning to 3D printing:
"Labor and material shortages are two of the biggest factors pushing the dream of homeownership out of reach for many American families.
"Lennar has always expanded the boundaries of technological innovation to keep quality homes affordable, and 3D printing is an immensely encouraging approach," Eric Feder, president of LenX, Lennar's investment arm, said in a press release.
Digital renderings of the 3D-printed neighborhood were released last week.
The printers will squeeze out concrete in layers to build the frames of homes. Each home is expected to take a week to build.
ICON's 3D printing technology can print homes up to 3,000 square feet and do it in less time with less waste than convention methods.
"Construction-scale 3D printing not only delivers higher-quality homes faster and more affordably, but fleets of printers can change the way that entire communities are built for the better. The United States faces a deficit of approximately 5 million new homes, so there is a profound need to swiftly increase supply without compromising quality, beauty, or sustainability and that is exactly the strength of our technology," ICON co-founder and CEO Jason Ballard said.
With supply chain disruptions and soaring commodity costs, we've started to notice that more and more homes are being 3D printed. We told readers in May, "Screw Lumber, Just 3D-Print Your Next Home" because wood prices were at record highs and uneconomic to frame out a house. Also, we noted, homes in Florida and Virginia were printed earlier this year. Now an entire neighborhood in Austin is about to be printed.
So what's next? Print an entire city?