East Austin, Texas, USA

House Zero
Architects: Lake|Flato Architects, Inc.
Lead Architects: Lewis McNeel and Ashley Heeren
Client: ICON
Photographers: Casey Dunn

Project Description

House Zero is the first in ICON’s “Exploration Series” pushing the boundaries of architecture using its proprietary concrete wall system. Beyond that, House Zero is 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.

The design team collaborated with software developers, robotics engineers, and material scientists to create a new set of architectural innovations and strategies for printed concrete construction. These innovations were used to design a welcoming, practical home that is desirable, livable, and that expands the performance capabilities of 3D printing technology: Designed to be energy efficient, the house features a tight thermal 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.

This house is distilled down to the 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.