The home and the village: the new scale of 3D printing

Homeless charity New Story has teamed up with Yves Béhar's design agency Fuseproject and construction company ICON to develop a pioneering solution to the issue of the housing for all.

New Story, Yves Beìhar/fuseproject, ICON, 3D-printed community design, 2019. Courtesy Motionland for New Story

Will 3D printing put an end to the issue of giving every human being a house which is worth of this name, especially in the most disadvantaged areas of the planet? A home which is not only a salubrious, safe “container”, but also a space for life and happiness?

Amongst the supporters of this vision stands the multidisciplinary team formed by non-profit New Story, Yves Béhar's San Francisco-based design agency Fuseproject and construction company ICON, who have recently announced the soon-to-begin construction of the very first village built with this technology – shall a neologism be invented, though, to name the 100% printed urban agglomeration?

The difficult balance between standardisation and customisation, the not obvious correspondence of quantity and quality, searching for cost optimisation while avoiding pauperism: these are the same challenges, which recur on a cyclical basis in every historic moment requiring to quickly build a lot of homes – such as in Europe during the last after-war period – and which the youngest technologies also have to tackle today.

Without bringing into place the rhetoric of the “cure for all ills” – back in the day, traditional prefabrication was also considered as such, with the devastating effects that we all know – 3D printing has great potential, that New Story’s project is able to build in: for instance the speed of construction (24 hours are deemed sufficient to produce the structure of a house), as well as the possibility to integrate several built-in elements in the original file.

At the tropical latitudes of Latin America, the members of a countryside community, involved in a process of collaborative design, will soon become the very first users of this futuristic experiment. Their homes, whose size ranges from 55 to 75 square meters, will go to print this summer. A few adjustments were made to adapt them to the harsh tropical climate, such as the overhanging canopy, protecting them from heavy rainfalls, and the partially perforated envelopes, enhancing natural ventilation.

Future generations will comment on the outcomes of this heroic quest: for the moment, we can only praise this political approach to the architectural profession, one which re-thinks its boundaries and its tools, on the basis of the actual needs of the contemporary world.

New Story, Yves Beìhar/fuseproject, ICON, 3D-printed community design, 2019
New Story, Yves Beìhar/fuseproject, ICON, 3D-printed community design, 2019
3D-printed community design
Latin America
Non-profit :
New Story
Yves Béhar/fuseproject
Construction company:

Latest on Architecture

Latest on Domus

Read more
China Germany India Mexico, Central America and Caribbean Sri Lanka Korea icon-camera close icon-comments icon-down-sm icon-download icon-facebook icon-heart icon-heart icon-next-sm icon-next icon-pinterest icon-play icon-plus icon-prev-sm icon-prev Search icon-twitter icon-views icon-instagram