“In 2017, New Story, a housing nonprofit, partnered with ICON, a construction technologies company, to create the first permitted 3D printed home in the US.” (Photo Credit: Hope Joffray/ Achona Online/ Piktochart)
“In 2017, New Story, a housing nonprofit, partnered with ICON, a construction technologies company, to create the first permitted 3D printed home in the US.”

Photo Credit: Hope Joffray/ Achona Online/ Piktochart

New Story and ICON Partnership Sparks Change

March 24, 2020

The number of people in the world who lack secure and proper shelter is overwhelming. In order to make a substantial impact, the solution needs to be simple, affordable, and persistent. This partnership between New Story and ICON is doing just that.

In an effort to combat global homelessness, New Story is working to “bring innovation to those who need it the most” by establishing the world’s first 3d-printed community in Tabasco, Mexico. The process is supposedly a much easier, cheaper, and faster way of constructing homes, which will provide many people with a nice living space, and rightfully so. In the second quarter of 2019, Mexicans paid on average 1.07 million Mexican pesos to acquire residential property, which is a 30% increase from the previous year. Obtaining suitable shelter should not be as difficult as it is. Respect and human dignity needs to be taken more seriously. 

“I’ve actually gotten in contact with this charity before. From what I remember, you can sponsor a house within a timeframe for the money to be donated. I think it’s amazing the ways technology is being utilized to help those who need it the most, especially because it’s so efficient, beneficial, and relatively cheap,” said Lauren Jones (‘20).

Using traditional construction methods, New Story has already provided more than 2,500 families in need of shelter with a nice home. With the help of ICON, an Austin-based construction technologies company, they are revolutionizing the development of homes while making a positive impact on families living in Mexico. This is just the beginning of their project, as they hope to make the process of 3D-printing homes a normality and continue to change the lives of families for the better. 

Not only does this process have a positive influence on families in need of shelter, but it’s shown to be better for the environment as well. The process itself takes about 24 hours of print time spread across several days. The homes are made of Lavacrete, a proprietary concrete mixture. As for the printer’s eco-friendly characteristic, it uses local materials and results in zero waste production. 

“I think it’s a great idea. There are many individuals and families who lack proper shelter that would benefit from cheaper living. It’s great that it benefits both people and the environment. The only thing that would worry me is how stable the houses are, as compared to regularly constructed housing,” said Claire Murphy (‘20). 

The difference between traditional construction techniques and 3D-printing is enormous. Traditional construction techniques are wasteful, timely, and contain inadequate thermal properties that increase energy use and running costs. 3D-printing on the other hand, speeds up the process with a decreased use of manual labor. It uses very resilient and strong materials, much stronger than the drywall commonly used in the production of homes. An added bonus, it results in zero waste, which is incredibly progressive in our more environmentally conscious society. 

Through the use of new technologies and progressive ways, New Story and ICON are creating a positive impact on the lives of families in need of shelter. They are providing them with something that will better their quality of life and give them a sense of hope for the future. It’s companies like these that need to be more prevalent in our society if we want to make a change.

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