Architecture: 3D printing & botany

Via the video Conversation with Bridging the Gap in Kansas City, I learned that in Austin there is a company called Icon that creates 3D printed houses. Are there any connections to ATX/Asmbly?

I am in the US only for a brief period of time. So I want to learn as much as possible about local hacker projects, and especially about projects related to architecture. Originally my plan was to travel to Missouri to visit Open Source Ecology. However, they don’t accept visitors at the moment.

One field that I’m very much interested in is Baubotanik, basically creating houses out of trees. Mycelium is also interesting. A few weeks ago, when still in Hong Kong, I organized a mycelium workshop at Dim Sum Labs.

When Asmbly taking the facility & safety tour on Sunday, we were shown the aquaponics experiment, quite impressive!

Anyhow, anything related to nature hacking and architecture, please send it my way. :smile:

There are several Icon printed houses at the Community First Village in East Austin. I’m interested in myco-construction as well, its a fascinating frontier. I highly recommend you get in touch with Community First to get a tour.


Wow, this looks like a super nice project!

The amount of homelessness in Austin kind of shocked me, coming over from Hong Kong just a few weeks ago. While I’ve seen people sleeping on mattresses in subways in Hong Kong, most people there do have their own space. Homes can be tiny, and people may live under precarious conditions, but at least everybody is kind of downtown and can integrate. Subdivision is the key. With all the space here in Austin, it’s hard to understand why there is a housing issue. (although I had heard about it before)

Personally I’m affected by hotel prices. It’s super expensive here, about three to five times more than in Hong Kong. At the moment that can partly be explained by different Covid situations: basically no travel to Hong Kong (→ low numbers → people don’t see the point in vaccination → difficult to reopen)

Unfortunately tours to the Community First Village are not happening these days: “Out of an abundance of caution related to the current coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, we have made the difficult decision to put all tours at the Village on hold until further notice. Please note that all public tours have been canceled at this time.” (Community First! Tours)

There is an online tour, though, with the 3D printed homes around the 10:10 mark: Community First! Village - 2020 Video Tour (YouTube)

I also contacted Icon via their web form, but there was no reply.

Did you do any experiments?

Mycelium brain being fried in an oven at Dim Sum Labs

That’s an awesome setup! I’ve not done any experimentation in mycology. I’m sorry to hear about the hotel situation, Airbnb may give you better results in Austin. Homelessness being overlooked to such a degree in one of the wealthiest cities in the world is inexcusable. Community First! is an awesome project in itself. I’ve applied to work at Icon and had similar luck getting a response, lol!

The only critique I have is that it’s all separate form downtown Austin.

For the same price as a house in Community First!, you can live in a subdivided apartment in Hong Kong, the city with the highest property prices in the world¹. While, yes, space will be a compromise, you’re downtown, and you can mingle with people from all walks of life. Also it’s relatively easy to find work, albeit possibly at less than 5 US$ per hour, and with 12 hour shifts, six days a week.

¹ Note, however, that property prices in Hong Kong are sometimes artificially inflated with the clear intention of getting news. There are weird tricks and scams. Actual prices may be lower. Better don’t trust the statistics.