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. Automation has been considered in all aspects of the project, which utilizes prefabrication of structural members and interior components to maximize speed and efficiency in construction. And although the house is made using new robotic printing processes, its natural wood and exposed concrete surfaces provide a timeless and rooted-to-the-earth quality, drawing attention to the natural world and its physical forces.
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.