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SXSW preview: Step inside one of the most innovative 3D-printed homes made in Austin

House Zero will not be listed on the market but will instead be used to generate excitement. (Laura Figi/Austonia)

Austinites will be able to walk the curved halls of ICON’s newest 3D-printed home, House Zero, for themselves during SXSW weekend.


Designed in tandem with Lake|Flato Architects—the firm behind South Congress development Music Lane—House Zero is the first of ICON’s “exploration series,” which shows how 3D-printed construction can be customized, such as with curved walls.

As an official partner of SXSW, ICON will host tours from March 13-14.

@austonianews East Austin’s House Zero is meant to show all the uses of 3D-printing construction. Read about how to tour the house at SXSW on austonia.com! #atx♬ original sound - Austonia

Printed in less than two weeks using ICON’s proprietary cement-like material, “Lavacrete,” co-founder and CEO Jason Ballard said he hopes the home helps push the boundaries of what to expect from housing.

Behind Jason Ballard, there's not a single straight line making up the walls at the front of the house. (Laura Figi/Austonia)

“This is really an exercise in expanding people's imaginations.” Ballard told Austonia. “I hope people see this and realize not only that we cannot accept the way that we're building right now, but when you see this as you don't want to accept it anymore. You realize much more fantastic futures are possible.”

At more than 2,000 square feet, the home has three bedrooms, two-and-a-half bathrooms and a 350-square-foot one-bedroom, one-bathroom accessory dwelling unit just outside. Absence of corners and rigid straight lines, plus an open floor plan, give the home an organic feeling.

The living room connects to an office space and the kitchen. (Laura Figi/Austonia)

Floor-to-ceiling windows ensure that indoors are always brightly lit with natural light and natural cabinetry inside provides a seamless transition from outdoors to indoors.

Luxury finishes in bathrooms provide a spa-like experience with rain showers, detached bathtubs and countertop sinks.

Meanwhile, bedrooms are equipped with remote-controlled shades, so you can always wake up to morning light.

Though the ADU is small, a murphy bed, closet space lining the walls and massive windows make the home feel more spacious than it truly is. With a miniature induction stove, ample counter space and luxurious bathroom, the ADU can host short, long-term or even permanent guests.

On its way to its goal of ending the housing crisis in Austin, Ballard said ICON is now focusing on finishing its 100-home project in North Austin, which will be the world’s first 3D-printed neighborhood, and looks forward to continuing work with Community First! Village to build homes for the homeless.

“Often conversations about homelessness and housing affordability and housing supply, are like very depressing conversations and I hope this puts a hopeful exclamation point on the conversation,” Ballard said. “We can have sustainability, we can have affordability, we can have increased supply, we can have dignity, we can have all the things that we want out of our houses. But we're gonna have to be brave enough to try some new things.”

Tours will run from 6-9 p.m. and SXSW badge holders will be given priority. Ballard will also deliver a featured talk to discuss the role of robotics in architecture on March 15 for SXSW.

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