Solving the Housing Crisis, One Print at a Time: Inside ICON’s Initiative 99

Published on March 24, 2023 by Avery S.
Initiative 99

ICON, the industry pioneer in large-scale 3D printing for construction, announced its new project, ‘Initiative 99’, during the 2023 annual SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, this March.  ICON, alongside nonprofit housing partners New Story and architecture firm Big-Bjarke Ingels Group, is opening a worldwide architecture competition that aims to re-envision the future of affordable housing. After 3D printing several homes in Mexico and El Salvador using their very own Vulcan II printer, the company is now reaching out with an exciting challenge for architects, designers, and engineers alike: to create eye-catching, cost-effective, and accessible homes that can be built for less than $99,000.

Beginning in the summer of 2023, anyone within the industry, whether new graduates or big players, can register for the year-long, multi-phase competition judged by a mixed panel of experts, including architects, engineers, and affordable housing advocates. The competition encourages participants to develop innovative solutions that can be replicated and scaled to meet the growing demand for affordable housing. In addition to receiving a mouth-watering prize of $1 million, the winners will have their designs debuted for public utility. Through this competition, the organizers hope to foster a collaborative approach toward solving the affordable housing crisis and bringing about positive change within the industry.

Model of community homes built with 3D printing (photo credit: ICON)

“We believe that the future of homebuilding lies in the intersection of technology, sustainability, and design. The Initiative 99 competition is an exciting opportunity to bring together the brightest minds in architecture, engineering, and design to push the boundaries of what’s possible and create a better future for all” explained Brett Hagler, CEO and Co-founder of New Story.

Why 3D Printing?

The initiative to reinvigorate the affordable housing market is part of ICON’s broader mission to create a more equitable and sustainable world. With traditional construction methods, building affordable homes can be expensive and time-consuming due to the high materials and labor costs. However, 3D printing technology can reduce these costs significantly by using inexpensive materials, such as concrete and recycled matter, leading to reduced labor costs and faster construction times. Additionally, 3D printing allows for customizable designs and better use of materials, minimizing waste and maximizing efficiency. With a staggering 7.2 million rental homes needed for extremely low-income renters in the United States alone, ICON’s initiative is a breath of fresh air. It can potentially revolutionize how we build affordable homes for those in need.

ICON hopes to bring more affordable housing to the US with this initiative (photo credits: ICON)

By harnessing the power of 3D printing technology in construction, we hope the competition’s goals of creating homes that are not only affordable and accessible, but also beautiful and sustainable, come to fruition. If you are interested in learning more, you can visit ICON’s website HERE.

What do you think of ICON’s Initiative 99? Let us know in a comment below or on our LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter pages! Don’t forget to sign up for our free weekly Newsletter here, the latest 3D printing news straight to your inbox! You can also find all our videos on our YouTube channel.

*Cover photo credits: ICON 3-D Technology

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