Over the past few years, 3D printing has found its way into more complex and extensive building projects. In just the past six months, we have seen the “Biohome 3D,” a 3D-printed house made entirely of recyclable and all-natural materials, as well as a 3D-printed public pavilion made entirely of recycled plastic, both created by scientists at the University of Maine. A 3D-printed hotel is currently being built in Marfa, Texas by architect Bjarke Ingles in collaboration with 3D printer Icon and hotel owner Liz Lambert.
What will the 62 Acres Hotel Look Like?
The hotel, as reported by Architectural Digest, will replace Lambert’s current 21-acre El Cosmico hotel in the West Texas desert and cover a total of 62 acres. In contrast to El Cosmico’s glitzed-up campground vibe, the new development will have dome-shaped suites, shared common areas, a circular infinity pool, and outdoor kitchens and bathrooms. The property will feature a hotel as well as two-, three-, and four-bedroom vacation homes for sale, all of which are sure to attract the ultra-wealthy who have their sights set on the town. (and occasionally draw the ire of Marfa locals).
Each ribbed home and room has a skylight and a view of the Davis Mountains, and Icon’s secret Lavacrete mixture incorporates desert soil to further ground the buildings in their surroundings. The promise of 3D printing, Ingels, an early investor in Icon who frequently collaborates on its projects, told AD, is that the printer doesn’t care how complex the design is, whether it uses organic curvature, dome-like shapes, or hyperbolic paraboloids. You can make a square box or a beautiful domed house for the same price because “all it cares about is how long it takes to print and how much material it is going to deploy.”
Vulcan Machines will make 350% Stronger Buildings
Each structure will be printed by one of Icon’s massive Vulcan machines, which the company claims will result in buildings that are 350 percent stronger than those built with conventional methods, require less time to erect, and generate less manufacturing waste. Ingels told AD that working with El Cosmico and Icon had freed them from the constraints of working with a traditional site or client, allowing them to explore the formal and material possibilities of cutting-edge 3D-printed construction. Icon also states that the buildings are more energy efficient than the average structure. Although Icon told Bloomberg earlier this year that they were looking into ways to reduce their carbon output, it is important to note that concrete production, including the creation of Lavacrete, is the world’s second-largest source of carbon emissions.