3D printing provides new housing solution
By Qiao Wai
People's Daily

Video: ICON

3D printing has been around for decades, but it has remained largely in the domain of hobbyists and designers producing one-off prototypes. Now a nonprofit company called New Story is putting a new twist on the idea by using a giant concrete-fueled printer to create affordable homes.

New Story, a Silicon Valley-based company, is aiming to rethink how to build housing for the world's poorest communities. New Story, working together with the construction tech company Icon, can build a house in a day for around $4,000.

According to Icon, a 32.5 square meter home with a bedroom, bathroom, dining room and a surrounding porch can be built within 12 hours, and a larger one measuring 74 square meters can be constructed in one day. The general structure of the home is built by architecture expert Vulcan’s giant 3D printer, which rapidly forms layers of concrete along a programmed route. 

New Story has focused on creating low-cost housing in poor communities. It soon discovered that the traditional building process was too slow. 

The company's CEO, Brett Hagler, choose 3D printing despite being originally skeptical of the idea. "We were very skeptical of the viability of this. It took doing a lot of research and a lot of due diligence."

The cost of a 3D printed home could eventually drop to $3,500. Homes are currently being built in El Salvador using the technique.