Here at 3D Rapid Print, one of the fastest growing 3D Printing companies in the Thames Valley, we like to keep abreast of the latest innovations in 3D printing.
On March 11th 2019, a few things happened that were clearly not coincidence, clearly most likely done to most efficiently promote the actions and/or intentions of: ICON of Austin, Texas; housing non-governmental organisation and charity New Story of San Francisco, California; and self-proclaimed “integrated design and branding firm” Fuseproject, also of San Francisco, California. (ICON describes itself as a “construction technologies company dedicated to revolutionizing homebuilding and making dignified housing the standard for people throughout the world.”):
- Business magazine Fast Company spoke of a planned collaboration between ICON, New Story and Fuseproject to build a neighbourhood of more than 50 3D printed houses in a secret semi-rural part of Latin America, specially for families earning less than $200 dollars a month.
- New Story’s YouTube channel uploaded a video entitled “New Story + ICON: World’s First 3D Printed Community,” whose description simply read “The Future Breaks Ground Summer 2019.” (This video was also embedded in the Fast Company story’s webpage.)
- ICON announced it was collaborating with New Story to create what ICON described as “the world’s first 3D printed community.” For reasons unknown, this completely failed to reference Fuseproject’s involvement with the project. Also at the time, Fuseproject’s website’s blog, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages all failed to mention their involvement.
- ICON announced the introduction of its Vulcan II 3D printer.
ICON further promoted the Vulcan II by announcing on the same day:
- Cielo Property Group of Austin, Texas had commissioned a Vulcan II for use in Austin to print what ICON described as “affordable, sustainable, beautiful and resilient housing.” (Cielo Property Group is a self-proclaimed “privately-owned commercial real estate investment and development company that specializes in redeveloping and repositioning underutilized properties.”)
- Architecture firm Overland Partners’s and 3Strands Neighbour’s 3D Printed Home Challenge, which had 12 teams from Overland Partners design an affordable, single-family house with the Vulcan II’s printing potential in mind.
Between March 11th and the unveiling of the plans for the neighbour on May 9th, the project was refined to mainly have the community accommodate farmers and palm weavers.
3D Rapid Print would also like to draw to the reader’s attention some inaccuracies in the coverage of the events of May 9th discovered in the making of July 12th’s blog post:
- A May 9th article on the website Archinect started with the words “Yves Béhar, the founder of the San Francisco-based design firm fuseproject, has teamed up with building startup ICON and housing charity New Story to bring about what they describe as “the world’s first 3D-printed community”.” This failed to make clear that the project was known about as far back as March 11th; the most likely reason this mistake was made was Archinect not knowing the Fast Company article existed.
- A May 10th article in Popular Mechanics magazine inaccurately proclaimed “Somewhere in Latin America, a small community of 50 farmers and weavers will be getting new, 3D-printed homes. They’ll be built in a 24-hour period by the San Francisco-based design firm Fuseproject, which is working in conjunction with the housing non-profit New Story and ICON, a construction technologies company.” The number 50 actually refers to the number of families the neighbourhood intends to accommodate; the 24 hours refers how fast ICON claim each building can be printed in. (The ICON announcement stated the community will house more than 400 people.) It does not make sense that Popular Mechanics would allow such basic inaccuracies to happen.
- A May 13th article in architecture magazine Dezeen inaccurately stated “The trio teamed up last year to use 3D printing to quickly build an affordable, high-quality housing for families living on less than $200 (£154) a month.” Dezeen failed to elucidate as to how they knew this and it is unclear what they are referring to, although they are most likely referring to ICON and New Story showing off a proof-of-concept 3D printed house at Texas’s 2018 SXSW festival. However, Fuseproject had no involvement with this and there is no evidence of the $200 a month figure being mentioned in this context. (The sentence’s grammatical inaccuracy was almost certainly just a typo.)
- A similar inaccuracy happened in a May 11th article on science and technology news website New Atlas that July 12th’s blog post hyperlinked, specifically with New Atlas’s use of the words “the team.”
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Disclaimer: Featured image of “Defense houses under construction – NARA – 280728” is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work prepared by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person’s official duties under the terms of Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105 of the US Code.