Layer by layer, 3D-printed housing community rises in Mexico

Construction startup Icon building 500 sf homes in impoverished area

Jason Ballard, CEO & Founder of Icon 
Jason Ballard, CEO & Founder of Icon

Using massive 3D printers, a construction startup is building a housing community in southeast Mexico, one that could help prove the technology’s viability to create sturdy housing for people living in poverty.

Icon, a 3D printing specialist, has already completed 10 homes at the community outside Nacajuca in Tabasco, with its on-site Vulcan II printer, according to the New York Times.

The project is a partnership with Vancouver-based World Housing, San Francisco-based New Story and Échale of Mexico City.

Residents are set to move into the 500-square-foot homes in the coming months. Carpenter Pedro García Hernández and his family are moving into one unit from a home and workshop with dirt floors vulnerable to flooding, according to the report.

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The new home will provide stability for his family, he said.

The community will eventually include 500 homes, 100 of which are to be 3D-printed.

Icon is coming off a Series B round of fundraising in August that attracted $207 million in investments. The round was led by Norwest Venture Partners.

Icon is working on a handful of other projects, including a proof-of-concept community in Austin. There, Icon built six 400-square-foot homes in the 51-acre Community First Village, as well as a welcome center. Icon is also working on some space-based projects with NASA.

[NYT] — Dennis Lynch