Project: House Zero
Architects: Lake Flato Architects
Location: Austin, Texas, United States
Photo Credits: Casey Dunn Photography
House Zero is a demonstration project and field trial for ICON’s proprietary concrete wall printing system. More than that, House Zero is also a compelling and climate-responsive new home connecting its inhabitants to a native Texas landscape and an evolving Austin neighborhood fabric. Built for permanence and resilience, the plan allows for the flexibility of ever-evolving patterns of living and aging-in-place that a family experiences over the course of a lifetime.
Lake|Flato collaborated intensely with ICON’s software developers, robotics engineers, and material scientists to create a new set of architectural innovations and strategies for printed concrete construction. The LF team then put these innovations to use designing a welcoming, practical home that is desirable, livable, and that expands the performance capabilities of 3D printing technology. Designed for net-zero energy, the house features a thermally broken, robustly insulated envelope and a rapid software-controlled construction process, showcasing and pushing the current limits of additive manufacturing at the scale of a building.
The house expresses its construction materials proudly: the concrete walls are framed and protected by simple ordered wood elements. Although the house is made using new robotic printing processes, its natural wood, plentiful daylighting and views to nature provide a timeless and rooted-to-the-earth quality, drawing attention to the natural world through biophilic design principles.
In keeping with Lake|Flato’s longstanding explorations of buildings and craft, this is a house distilled down to essentials. House Zero uses new technology to display enduring things: the honest effort and the raw materials needed to provide lasting shelter, and a deep-rooted sense of place and home.
“House Zero is ground zero for the emergence of entirely new design languages and architectural vernaculars that will use robotic construction to deliver the things we need most from our housing: comfort, beauty, dignity, sustainability, attainability, and hope. Houses like this are only possible with 3D printing, and this is the new standard of what 3D printing can mean for the world. My hope is that this home will provoke architects, developers, builders, and homeowners to dream alongside ICON about the exciting and hopeful future that robotic construction, and specifically 3D printing, makes possible. The housing of our future must be different from the housing we have known.” Jason Ballard / ICON, Co-Founder and CEO