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These 3D-printed homes will house low-income families

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The first of some 50 homes planned for Tabasco, Mexico

3D-printed house with seating on front patio. Joshua Perez courtesy New Story

The last time we checked in with Austin-based construction tech startup Icon and housing nonprofit New Story, they were showing off renderings of 3D-printed homes slated to go up in an undisclosed location in Latin America. Six months later, the teams, working with Mexican social housing organization Échale, have unveiled the first two homes built for low-income families in Tabasco, Mexico.

The 500-square-foot houses, funded by New Story donors, were 3D-printed in around 24 hours, spread across a few days. Layer by layer, the 3D printer, Icon’s Vulcan II, extrudes a proprietary cement-based material called “Lavacrete” to create a textured wall with curved edges. Eventually, the community will include 50 such 3D-printed homes.

Living room with modern furniture New Story

Each home features two bedrooms, a living room, kitchen, and bathroom. Red tile roofs create an overhang on the front patio, giving residents a place to sit during hot and rainy weather.

To determine who would live in these homes, the team partnered with the local government to survey more than 500 families. The 50 families that will be moving into the community were chosen based on financial and physical need, with most coming from flood-prone areas.

According to New Story, the families will receive the homes with a “zero-interest, zero-profit mortgage” costing around 400 pesos per month (around $21); for comparison, these families have an average median income of $76.50 per month. The mortgage would last for seven years, with the rest of cost of the home subsidized by New Story.

Below, take a closer look at the completed homes and the printer used for the project.

Compact kitchen with small appliances. Joshua Perez courtesy New Story
A woman and two small children sit on the bottom bed of a bunk bed. Joshua Perez courtesy New Story
A woman and two kids sit in woven chairs on a porch. Joshua Perez courtesy New Story
Bedroom outfitted in neutral colors. Joshua Perez courtesy New Story
Two one-story homes stand next to each other. Joshua Perez courtesy New Story
A construction site with a large printer. Joshua Perez courtesy New Story