With the cost of living skyrocketing in cities around the world, it’s about time someone came in with an affordable solution. Enter ICON, a startup aiming to bring 3D-printed tiny homes first to developing parts of the world and eventually to the United States. With living conditions and affordable housing remaining a global issue, ICON aims to fill the gap with a simple idea: 3D-printed tiny homes.
They’re not just all talk, either. Their printer, dubbed The Vulcan, was unveiled for the first time this month. Along with the non-profit New Story, which works largely in Haiti and El Salvador, ICON recently completed the first ever permitted 3D-printed house. The two brands hope to be major players in the fight against homelessness worldwide, providing 600-800 sq. ft. homes for $10,000. Eventually, with growth and improved technology, the company hopes to drop the price even further — potentially to as low as $4,000.
“Conventional construction methods have many baked-in drawbacks and problems that we’ve taken for granted for so long that we forgot how to imagine any alternative,” said ICON co-founder Jason Ballard on the company’s website. “With 3D printing, you not only have a continuous thermal envelope, high thermal mass, and near zero-waste, but you also have speed, a much broader design palette, next-level resiliency, and the possibility of a quantum leap in affordability. This isn’t 10% better, it’s 10 times better.”
New Story plans to spread the love to similar organizations in the future, with the aim of fighting homelessness and bringing affordable housing issues around the world. “Imagine if we could slash the cost and time it takes to build a home while improving quality and customization,” said New Story COO Alexandria Lafci on the company’s website. “This 3D-home printer has that potential. Change is an open-source pursuit so we are not building this technology for New Story, we are building it for the world. Our goal is to power our sector, every government, and organization building homes for the poor, to do their best work.”
Will we be able to buy a plot of land and 3D print a tiny home on it? Time will tell, but one thing is certain: it’s hard to beat a $10,000 house.