This Texas Small Town Will Have the World's First 3D-printed Hotel — With an Infinity Pool, Open-air Bathhouse, and Mountain Views
The accommodations are inspired by proposed designs for homes on the moon and Mars.
El Cosmico, a popular 21-acre glamping destination in Marfa, Texas, wants to help its guests live in the future. And that's why it will start work on the world's first 3D-printed hotel next year, called Sunday Homes, partially inspired by proposed designs for homes in outer space.
Hotelier Liz Lambert announced the ambitious new project at SXSW on March 9. She shared that her team partnered with 3D-printing construction firm Icon, which currently holds a contract with NASA for the first interplanetary homes on the moon and Mars, and Danish architecture company Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG).
"I have had a vision for the evolution of El Cosmico for many years that includes several spaces that add to the experience both for guests and locals — a pool, a hammam, and more space for art and skills-building workshops," Lambert said in a statement obtained by Travel + Leisure. "In collaborating with the revolutionary thinkers at BIG and Icon, not only do I get to fulfill this dream, but we get to do it using this incredible 3D printing technology that marries the oldest principles of raw earth-based building with a futuristic technology that works more quickly, sustainably, and efficiently than modern construction."
At SXSW, Lambert, Icon, and BIG gave a taste of what's to come. They unveiled a permanent outdoor concert pavilion, which the team gifted to the community, at Austin's Long Center for the Performing Arts. According to Lambert, construction (both printing and building) took just 14 days.
Lambert also shared renderings for a set of curved, hut-style accommodations slated to come to El Cosmico. Each one is created in neutral tones that are meant to reflect the landscapes in both outer space and Marfa, which are surprisingly similar.
"We'd spent some time doing research on what construction on Mars and the moon would look like, and it was quite clear that additive manufacturing like 3D printing was probably the only viable option," BIG founder Bjarke Ingels shared with Dezeen. "We also already sort of created some visuals where you could see the tectonics of 3D printing combined, in the case of Mars, with the red tones of Martain regoliths, you ended up with something that felt like a kind of vernacular architecture."
Lambert plans to relocate El Cosmico to a larger 60-acre location just north of Marfa that will house both its current glamping-style accommodations and its new 3D-printed buildings. It will also include her promised circular infinity pool, open-air bathhouse, and communal areas.
The plans include two-, three-, and four-bedroom abodes ranging from 1,200 to 2,200 square feet. Each unit comes with views of the surrounding Davis Mountains.
And, as Lambert noted in an Instagram post, the project could help "assess the opportunity to 3D-print affordable housing in Marfa," which can serve the growing community's needs. (The West Texas town has a long-term housing shortage, as a disproportionate number of properties serve as short-term vacation rentals catering to tourists.)
"Our collaboration with El Cosmico and Icon has allowed us to pursue the formal and material possibilities of cutting-edge 3D-printed construction untethered by the traditional limitations of a conventional site or client," Ingels added in a statement.
The project is expected to begin construction in 2024. Sunday Homes will accept bookings starting this summer. To learn more and to sign up for updates, visit elcosmicohomes.com.
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