Sep 29, 2021 - Real Estate

Building the future of Iowa's affordable housing with a 3D printer

A 3D home under construction in Richmond, Virginia.

A 3D-printed home under construction in Richmond, Virginia. Photo courtesy of Zach Mannheimer

Homes built with a 3D printer could alleviate Iowa's affordable housing gaps and help rejuvenate rural areas, Zach Mannheimer of 3D housing company Alquist told Axios.

Driving the news: Mannheimer's company is planning to build a 3D-printed home in Stanton, Iowa, next year.

Why it matters: Central Iowa is facing a shortage of tens of thousands of new housing units over the next few decades, according to a DSM study from 2018.

  • A lack of affordable digs jeopardizes employment growth, the study found.

The intrigue: Housing material costs have spiked since the pandemic, placing even more pressure on affordable housing. But 3D printing could help reduce costs and construction time, Mannheimer said.

  • Alquist built the walls of a nearly 1,600-square-foot home in Virginia in 15 hours.

How it works: The printer is programmed to lay wet concrete used to construct homes.

  • Fewer materials like wood and steel are needed, which helps drive down costs.

What's ahead: Alquist and its partners plan to print more than 100 homes in the next year, including the one in Iowa.

  • There are no immediate plans for the company to build 3D-printed homes in the Des Moines metro, but the company is willing to share its expertise with other builders interested in the concept, Mannheimer told Axios.
A photo of the 3D printer used in construction of a home in Richmond, Virginia.
The 3D printer used in construction of a home in Richmond, Virginia. Photo courtesy of Zach Mannheimer
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