The world’s first 3D printed community

Nonprofit New Story, tech company ICON and design studio fuseproject collaborated to bring an end to global homelessness…or to at least kickstart the beginning of its end.

How did they do so? They recently unveiled the world’s first 3D-printed neighborhood in Tabasco, Southern Mexico.

Yves Béhar and his studio fuseproject designed the homes by directly collaborating and working with the families they were being built for. “As we spoke to the community members, we realized that a single house design doesn’t respond to the needs and expectations,” said Béhar. “This led us to design a system that allows for different programs, climate factors, and growth for families and spaces.”

The community members were included in the selection of the land and throughout the planning process, to ensure their housing requirements were met. The end result will be a lively 3D-printed neighborhood of fifty 500-square-foot, single-storey houses for the poorest communities who are always the last to benefit from innovation and technology.

ICON issued its Vulcan II printer for the purpose at hand. In 24 hours a base cement home with walls is built, with roofs, doors, and windows added later on. Vulcan II’s functionality is foolproof against rainfall, power shortages and most dilemmas in rural areas.

The quaint homes consist of two bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen, and a bathroom. Textured walls, subtle colors, and slanted roofs mark the exteriors of the homes. The slanted roof provides protection against intense rainfall. And the strong base and walls will support the structure against seismic activity. Made from ICON’s Lavacrete material and concrete, the homes are guaranteed to be sturdy and strong.

A cute little patio and a sheltered front porch provide spaces for interaction between the family and community members. Béhar designed the interiors to facilitate open ventilation. Each home has been equipped with electrical and water supply, and at 400 Mexican pesos a month for seven years, with zero interest and profit mortgage, the community members have a safe haven that will extend for generations. By next year, all fifty homes should be standing tall, creating a safe space for the poorer communities, and taking us one step closer to ending global homelessness.

Kudos to the efforts of New Story, ICON and fuseproject!

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