- Austin-based construction technology company ICON, in partnership with the Texas Military Department, has constructed a 3,800-square-foot barracks on a Texas military base, ICON announced last week. The company claims it is the largest 3D-printed structure in North America.
- The barracks was constructed using an in-house ICON technology known as the Vulcan construction system. The system is 15.5 feet long, 46.5 feet wide, and can print between 5 and 10 inches of concrete per second.
- The project is a result of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Strategic Funding Increase, also known as STRATFI. The barracks was designed by two Austin-based companies — design firm Logan Architecture planned and executed on the 3,800 square-foot barracks, and Fort Structures handled the structural engineering.
The barracks is located at Camp Swift Training Center in Bastrop, Texas, currently used by the National Guard, and can accommodate up to 72 people.
The venture sparks hope for a new form of quick builds, as the military seeks to leverage the technology to replace more time-consuming traditional forms of construction, such as creating infrastructure to help communities respond to natural disasters, along with buildings in forward expeditionary areas, according to the press release.
3D printing is taking off around the world as it continues to be used on larger projects. Recently, a Skanska JV announced it will use 3D printing as a part of its work on HS2, a large high-speed rail program in the U.K.
This also comes as Texas sees advancing movements from companies as they make their way to the Lone Star State. This past week, contracting firm AECOM announced it is moving its corporate headquarters to Dallas, expanding the list of major companies relocating to the state.
"Texas has become a technological center of gravity within the nation," said Maj. Gen. Tracy Norris, the adjutant general of Texas, in the ICON press release.
ICON has been capitalizing on its success and a new wave of interest in 3D-printed housing. Two-thirds of respondents to a survey conducted by HarrisX said they would consider living in a 3D-printed home.
With this interest comes funding. ICON announced on Tuesday that it had secured $207 million in series B funding, with investors such as Citi, Ensemble, Moderne Ventures and Oakhouse Partners. This brings ICON's total funding to about $266 million since its launch.
Looking beyond terrestrial opportunities, ICON is also exploring the use of 3D printing to build sustainable and viable housing on the moon through the company's Olympus project, according to its website. The vision for this project involves using materials that are found on the moon to build structures that humans can live in.
Closer to home, ICON also built House Zero, a 2,000-square-foot home that the company has used to showcase the resiliency and sustainability it claims can only be achieved through 3D printing.