Austin, Texas-based 3D printing construction company Icon unveiled its new 2,000-square-foot home, House Zero.I spent a night in the luxurious home and I’m convinced 3D printing is the future of home construction.Icon’s printer system produced the most unique walls I’ve ever seen inside a home.I spent a night inside of a luxury 3D-printed home and now I’m convinced the technology has a place in the future of home construction.Brittany Chang/Insider In early March, 3D printing home construction company Icon unveiled House Zero, an over 2,000-square-foot 3D printed home in Austin, Texas.
Brittany Chang/Insider 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.
Brittany Chang/Insider The team then spent five additional months finishing the rest of the home, like window installation, wiring, and plumbing.Brittany Chang/Insider And when it was completed, Icon invited me to spend a night in the new three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom build … Brittany Chang/Insider … and the unique construction tech, curved concrete walls, and high-end finishes made House Zero one of the most uniquely designed homes I’ve ever stayed at.Brittany Chang/Insider Spending a night in House Zero made me realize that 3D printing homes can be a strategic and functional construction method while still producing beautiful yet comfortable homes.Brittany Chang/Insider Many 3D printing enthusiasts view the tech as a path toward alleviating our ongoing housing shortage and affordability crisis.Brittany Chang/Insider Like House Zero, a home that could take about a year to build “traditionally” can be printed and completed in just several months … Brittany Chang/Insider … enabling home builders to construct housing cheaper, faster, and more sustainably by using fewer materials and less physical labor.Brittany Chang/Insider The technology might be being heralded as a way to build more affordable homes quicker, but House Zero is far from an example of a budget-friendly home.
Brittany Chang/Insider 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 media.Brittany Chang/Insider 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.Brittany Chang/Insider And like all stereotypical model homes, House Zero is filled with high-end furniture and finishes that can woo even the most discerning visitors.Brittany Chang/Insider The rounded walls caught my attention as I drove by the Austin, Texas home for the first time … Brittany Chang/Insider … and were the first feature my eyes gravitated towards when I finally stepped foot inside the house.
Brittany Chang/Insider I was immediately taken aback by the beautiful interior design and concrete curved walls, which far exceeded my expectations of a 3D-printed home.Brittany Chang/Insider A building with this much exposed concrete is often associated with brutalist architecture, but nothing about House Zero screamed “brutalism” to me.Brittany Chang/ The layered lavacrete — Icon’s in-house “high strength” concrete — combined with the curved wall design made House Zero look organic and free-flowing.Brittany Chang/Insider Up until this build I had never seen a layered sloping wall before.
And now, I want something similar in my future home.Brittany Chang/Insider And it’s not just for aesthetic reasons.The shape strengthens the home’s structure while serving as a natural open-aired separation of space.Brittany Chang/Insider Icon’s 3D printing technology enables it to easily print curved walls, a feat that would be remarkably more difficult if done using “traditional” construction methods.Brittany Chang/Insider “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.” Brittany Chang/Insider Curvature aside, the striking layered walls — which were strengthened with steel and insulation — were unlike anything I had seen inside a home before.Brittany Chang/Insider There was no need for art on the walls — the grey layers naturally became a focal point of the home’s rooms …Brittany Chang/Insider … while the wooden walls and accents kept the space from appearing too cold and drab.
Brittany Chang/Insider The first room off the entryway is the open-concept kitchen, living room, and dining room.Brittany Chang/Insider To create natural separations of space, these areas were all sectioned off using the concave shape of the walls.Brittany Chang/Insider The dining room was enveloped in a cocoon of concrete, creating an alluring and modern space.Brittany Chang/Insider I had never seen a room like this before, and it instantly became my favorite part of the home.Brittany Chang/Insider Because it was only partially sectioned off, the dining room still flowed into the kitchen and the living room.Brittany Chang/Insider Coming from a New York City apartment, the kitchen in House Zero felt especially large … Brittany Chang/Insider … and had all the amenities of a luxury kitchen, including a walk-in pantry.Brittany Chang/Insider It also opened perfectly into the living room, which had comfortable seats and a wall-mounted television hidden behind a tapestry.
Brittany Chang/Insider This would’ve been the perfect space for entertaining, but I was, after all, staying in someone else’s home.Brittany Chang/Insider A sizable workstation was located just behind this common space.I don’t enjoy facing a wall while I work, but there’s no denying this corner was beautifully designed and curated.Brittany Chang/Insider The hallway directly behind this space leads into the half-bathroom and primary bedroom.Brittany Chang/Insider The home has three bedrooms, and I opted to sleep in the largest one with an en-suite bathroom.Brittany Chang/Insider The bathroom far surpassed the ones I’ve seen inside a hotel or Airbnb.Brittany Chang/Insider The focal point of the room was the shower and bathtub, which sat in their own space separated by a small glass panel.
Brittany Chang/Insider This bathing space also had a concave wall.But unlike the living room, the concrete layers were covered with a smooth grey finish.Brittany Chang/Insider The bathtub and shower relied on a touchscreen panel to control the water and its temperature, a tech-forward feature I had never used before.Brittany Chang/Insider But other than spending a few seconds learning how to use this system, I continued about my nighttime routine like I would in a “normal” home.Brittany Chang/Insider And the primary bedroom where I slept was just that, a bedroom.Although it was accented with this wavy printed wall.
Brittany Chang/Insider Like the primary bathroom, the half bathroom’s layered concrete walls were covered in a similarly smooth but dark finish, creating a cave-like space.Brittany Chang/Insider The second full bathroom was located at the other end of the home between the two additional bedrooms, although one had been converted into a home office.Brittany Chang/Insider I spent most of my night in the primary bedroom and living room, so I didn’t frequent this half of the house.Brittany Chang/Insider But the morning light that streamed into the bedroom-turned-office beautifully highlighted its walls and wooden finishes.
Brittany Chang/Insider And after a good night’s rest, my stay inside the 3D printed home wrapped up without a single mishap.Brittany Chang/Insider In retrospect, I definitely gawked at the unique construction throughout my first few hours in the home.Brittany Chang/Insider But after the awe of staying inside a 3D printed abode wore off, the reality of my surroundings settled in.Brittany Chang/Insider In reality, House Zero was nothing more than a home filled with luxurious furniture and high-end finishes constructed in a unique manner.
Brittany Chang/Insider It’s comfortable, perfectly livable, and unfussy.I had no difficulties or an adjustment period trying to make myself at home.Brittany Chang/Insider I didn’t feel like I was missing anything.There were plenty of outlets, bright lights, and endless storage options, everything that I could possibly want in a home.Brittany Chang/Insider Sure the furniture is nice, and sure they use fancy Aesop hand soap, but at the end of the day, the pretty home is just that, a typical (luxury) home.Brittany Chang/Insider The only feature that differentiated it from any other high-end home was its layered and curved walls.Brittany Chang/Insider And in retrospect, that’s exactly what I was hoping for: a normal house.Brittany Chang/ The 3D printing home construction technology is still in its infancy, but it already has the potential to build homes quickly, inexpensively, and sustainably.
Brittany Chang/Insider We’re currently in a dire housing and homelessness crisis, and 3D printing seems to be a viable solution to this massive issue.Brittany Chang/Insider And if that’s the case, we should begin accepting that this efficient construction method could become the future of homebuilding.Brittany Chang/Insider And for those who don’t like change, House Zero proves that the tech can produce the type of homes we’ve grown used, just with a slightly cooler look and in a more efficient manner.Brittany Chang/Insider “I don’t wanna build a worse world faster and cheaper,” Ballard said.
“I want to build a better world faster and cheaper.” Brittany Chang/Insider.