The plan to create affordable 3D-printed homes has been put into action and the non-profit; New Story, has revealed what it calls the world’s first 3D-printed community, which is currently under construction in rural Mexico.
The project was created in partnership with Icon and Échale, is located in Tabasco, Mexico. The team aims to produce 50 homes for families in the area who are living in extreme poverty, very often in dangerous and rickety makeshift shelters. So far, two homes have been completed and the families chosen will receive them at a zero interest, zero profit mortgage costing around 400 Mexican Pesos (about US$20 per month), which will run for seven years.
The construction process for the homes involved Icon’s 3D printer extruding cement out of a nozzle, layer by layer until the basic structures of the homes were completed. This process took around 24 hours per house. Human builders then came in and finished the homes by adding roofs, windows, and doors. However, the project wasn’t without challenges.
“The 3D printer for homes is designed to work under the constraints that are common in rural locations, but the journey has not been easy,” says New Story. “Power can be unpredictable and local rainfall has often flooded access roads to the construction site. This printer, designed to tackle housing shortages for vulnerable populations, is the first of its kind.”
The finished homes measure 500 sq ft (46.5 sq m). The interior is laid out on one floor and divided into two bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen, and a bathroom. There’s also a small porch area for dining outside. They come with electrical and water hookups and, have been engineered above the standard safety requirements to ensure they will withstand both the local seismic conditions.
“We are living a historic moment, having the first community of 3D-printed homes being built,” says Gretel Uribe, Development Director, Échale. “But more than the technological accomplishment that this represents, which feels like science fiction meeting reality, I would like to point out that this technology is being developed and used to bring adequate housing to the most vulnerable families. I think this project is a lesson that if we come together to work, join talents and resources, and lead them to solve real problems, the dream of sustainability and social fairness is achievable.”
The non-profit expects that the remaining 48 homes will be filled with families by next year.