3D Printing your home might not be the most cost-efficient way to build your home today. As a matter of fact, it might be difficult to completely 3D print your home. Still, the potential future for 3D printing in home construction could lead to radically new ways of living as 3D printing of the future will theoretically allow greater design opportunities than current conventional methods do. In addition to that, future homes might one day be highly customizable, as well as recyclable.
As your needs change, your home might need to be changed. It can get bigger or smaller. It can be changed as tastes change. Every 10 years or so you might one day go on a vacation and come back to your new home printed for you, mostly printed using the material from your old home.
Vanessa Bates Ramirez
It’s no secret America is in the midst of a housing shortage, with home prices ballooning, supply remaining stagnant, and would-be homebuyers frantic to secure an affordable place to live. Supply chain backups due to the pandemic made building materials more expensive and caused long delays, and there’s a labor shortage too. Worryingly, the situation doesn’t show signs of getting better anytime soon.
In an inspiring presentation at South By Southwest last month titled “It’s Time to Build” (perhaps in reference to Marc Andreesen’s compelling, widely-circulated 2020 blog post of the same title), ICON co-founder and CEO Jason Ballard shared his vision of a new paradigm in homebuilding, and the power of 3D printed houses to change the construction industry.
“I think the homes and buildings of our future are going to have to be profoundly different than they are today,” he said. “Not a little bit different—profoundly different.”
If offered a 100-year-old home versus a home built a year ago, he said he’d take the 100-year-old home. It’s a sad state of affairs; in what other industry would you choose something very old over something brand-new? But construction quality and materials have devolved to a point that this is the reality we find ourselves in.