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In Texas, construction begins on world's largest 3D-printed neighborhood

North of Austin, a fleet of giant robots is squeezing out cement to form the walls of what will become the world's largest 3D-printed neighborhood. The robots were developed by ICON and are working for Lennar, one of the largest home construction companies in the US.

Codesigned by BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group, the 100 3D-printed homes in Wolf Ranch community will range from 1,574 to 2,112 square feet and feature high-end fixtures and rooftop solar panels. Prices will start in the mid USD 400,000s.

The process currently requires three human operators to build one house — wall systems including plumbing and wiring — in two weeks. ICON expects that a single operator will soon be able to oversee the construction of multiple homes, which will bring down costs.

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As both climates and energy prices become more extreme and unpredictable, consumers are increasingly aware of how much energy they use to heat and cool their homes. Meanwhile, countries around the world are grappling with housing shortages. 3D printing has the potential to solve both problems: thick printed walls provide better insulation than conventional construction, while homes can be built at massive speed and scale.