Texas-based ICON has made waves at SXSW with the debut of Phoenix, a groundbreaking robotic-arm-mounted 3D printer designed to construct fully-enclosed, multi-storey buildings using a low-carbon mixture.

Revolutionizing Construction at SXSW During a presentation at SXSW in Austin, ICON showcased Phoenix, a demountable crane-based 3D printer set to redefine construction possibilities. This innovative technology enables the creation of multi-storey dwellings with enclosed systems, ushering in a new era of sustainable and efficient building practices. Currently, ICON is constructing a prototype outside its headquarters in Austin, featuring a dome-like enclosed roof and towering at 70 feet tall.

Key Features of Phoenix Phoenix boasts a crane-like system that surpasses the height capabilities of ICON’s previous printer, the Vulcan. With the ability to reach heights of up to 27 feet (8.2 meters), this advanced 3D printer utilizes ICON’s proprietary cementitious admixture, Lavacrete, distributed via a highly integrated system. Gyroscopes stabilize the nozzle, ensuring precise and efficient distribution of the low-carbon mixture.

Efficiency and Versatility Thanks to its crane system, Phoenix can erect multiple structures within close proximity with minimal adjustments to its setup. This versatility reduces the need for extensive on-site labor, streamlining the construction process while maintaining superior quality and precision.

Pioneering Sustainable Solutions In tandem with Phoenix’s unveiling, ICON introduced CarbonX, a revolutionary building material touted as the “lowest carbon residential building system” available for widespread use. Backed by a MIT study highlighting its environmental benefits, CarbonX represents a significant step towards sustainable construction practices. While CarbonX will not be integrated into ICON’s projects until after April 2024, the company plans to make it accessible to other firms seeking eco-friendly building solutions.

Expanding Design Possibilities ICON also introduced Codex, a repository of “ready-to-print” designs comprising over 60 innovative concepts. Collaborating with renowned architecture studio BIG, ICON aims to democratize access to cutting-edge designs for residential developments. Furthermore, the company announced the launch of an AI program integrated into its ICON Vitruvius platform, empowering users to create customizable 3D-printable home schematics effortlessly.

Pioneering Partnerships and Future Endeavors In addition to its collaboration with BIG on the 100-home community in Texas, ICON is teaming up with hotelier Liz Lambert for the El Cosmico resort and homes in Marfa. These partnerships underscore ICON’s commitment to reshaping the future of construction with sustainable, technology-driven solutions.

As Phoenix takes flight, ICON continues to push the boundaries of innovation, paving the way for a more sustainable and efficient built environment.

By Impact Lab