(Author – Mike Cronin) No longer just a promise, 3D-printed homes by Austin-headquartered Icon Technology Inc. are now on sale in the Texas capital. Kansas City-headquartered housing developer 3 Strands Neighborhoods, which does business as 3Strands, announced March 4 it has partnered with Icon to build two- to four-bedroom East Austin homes that will be ready for move-in this summer.
3D printing started in November on the four homes but they just went on the market this week. The homes range from 1,000 to 2,000 square feet and prices start in the mid-$400,000 range. 3Strands already has received offers, according to Kansas City Business Journal . “We want to change the way we build, own and how we live in community together,” Gary O’Dell, 3 Strands co-founder and CEO, said in a statement. “This project represents a big step forward, pushing the boundaries of new technologies, such as 3D-printed homes.” Icon already has built about two dozen 3D-printed homes in Central Texas and Mexico. That includes homes in Community First Village, Alan Graham’s community for the formerly homeless in far East Austin.
But these are the first homes for sale to the public. That marks a major milestone for Icon, which was founded in 2017 by CEO Jason Ballard, Alex Le Roux and Evan Loomis. Residential real estate experts have long wondered how 3D printing could be implemented at scale, especially in a hot housing market like Austin.
Austin-based Logan Architecture PLLC designed the new East Austin homes and Austin-based designer Claire Zinnecker oversaw the interiors’ finishes and fixture selection. The interiors feature open floor plans, vaulted master bedrooms and high-performance heating and cooling systems. Icon used its 3D-printing construction technology to build the first floor of the energy-efficient homes, then wood was used for the second floors.
In addition to printing homes, Icon is also using its technology for military and space applications. The company in October announced a $14.55 million federal Small Business Innovation Research contract, awarded by the US Air Force, to develop an automated construction system that may be used on the surface of the moon.
Icon caught the public’s attention with a 3D-printed tiny house at South by Southwest 2018. Since then it has raised at least $44 million in funding, including a $35 million series A round announced in August and a $9 million seed round announced in 2018. And in January, the company reported in a securities filing selling about $7 million in equity to 17 investors.
Icon employs the full-time equivalent of more than 40 people. Meanwhile, 3Strands already is eyeing additional projects in Austin and wants to bring 3D-printed homes to the Kansas City area, according to KCBJ.