For ages Americans have been regaled about the “Home of the Future”. While many facets of a Jetson’s inspired world still allude us (like hover cars, for instance), there has been an amazing recent development in the world of homebuilding. By now, most everyone has heard about 3D printing with mixed results and opinions. But while most of us understand how 3D printing works, how many thought of using this technology to provide homes to families?
Well, some innovators did! The company Apis Cor & Pik collaborated to print a house in Russia -- in just 24 hours (1). Another startup, Icon, claims they can create a structure in just 12-24 hours. Their plan is to use this method to create housing in impoverished areas around the world.
Now that we know it can be done, what are the pros to this emerging market? Speed is obviously a factor. Even the most skilled and experienced builders in the world would have trouble posting comparable numbers. Cost is another huge component. While 3D printing has large initial expenses related to the equipment, the usage of equipment and cost of materials is actually quite economical. Some 3D printed homes have been created for as little as 4,000 to 10,000 dollars. Which is pretty astonishing, given the average home price is over 200,000. (3).
That all sounds great, however 3D homes certainly are not too good to be true. At the moment, 3d printers are rather limited in terms of materials. That means no beautiful hardwood floor or classic brick architecture. These homes have a modern look, which, admittedly, isn’t for everybody. The futuristic technology will certainly have an impact on the traditional homebuilder/construction market as well. As newer jobs and skills will be required, traditional builders might find themselves in less demand.
It should be emphasized though that at the moment 3D houses are envisioned for housing natural disaster victims or providing a safer refuge than many low-income areas often have. It will likely be many years before we see 3D houses in listing presentations or with for sale signs out front. However, this is definitely something to look out for in the years to come. The future, it seems, is officially here….Still waiting on the hover cars, though.