Creating a collaborative ecosystem for affordable housing

Architecture student working on 3D model.The Iowa Innovative Housing Project (also known as the 3D Affordable Innovative Technologies Housing Project) aims to address the shortage of affordable housing in Iowa by exploring a faster, more cost-efficient solution through the use of 3D-printed homes.

A collaborative effort between Iowa State University and the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IDEA), the project utilizes 3D printing and innovative approaches, as it seeks to lower construction risks, reduce material usage and waste, provide faster responses to natural disasters, and ultimately deliver affordable, resilient, and sustainable housing options.

Hamburg Pilot Project

Hamburg pilot project

1500 Main Street in Hamburg, Iowa, will serve as the pilot project for 3D printing affordable, sustainable housing in Iowa.

In addition, BNIM Architects and Brunow Construction are collaborating on several affordable housing designs that will be constructed as part of a North Ridge Hills Development in Hamburg.

Post-occupancy sensors will be used to collect performance research on how these homes compare with the 3D printed homes, providing valuable comparative data for whether 3D-printed concrete homes can perform equally to stick-frame homes.

Support for the Iowa Innovative Housing Project

The Iowa Economic Development Authority has awarded a $1.4 million grant through its Strategic Infrastructure Program (SIP) to support the project. This grant funds various aspects of the project, including the acquisition of equipment and materials such as a 3D construction printer, 3D concrete construction printing materials and components, on-site robotics, mobile CNC machining, web technologies, and virtual and extended reality.

Headshot of Iowa State University College of Design Dean, Luiz Rico-Gutierrez.

Nationwide, rural housing issues are often overlooked. For Iowa State, they are central to our priorities as a land-grant institution. This funding allows us to address all aspects of the process, from planning to developing new building codes through construction and the impact on the quality of our lives

Luis Rico-Gutierrez, dean of the College of Design

Faculty, sponsors, and partners involved in the project

  • Erin Doran, associate professor in the School of Education
  • Shelby Doyle, Stan G. Thurston Professor in Design Build and associate professor of architecture
  • Pete Evans, assistant professor of industrial design

  • Kevin Kane, director of the Iowa State University Geographic Information Systems Support and Research Facility
  • Sara Nelson, extension program specialist in the School of Education
  • Julie Robison, interim associate director of IDRO and instructor in community and regional planning
  • Carl Rogers, associate professor and chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture

College of Design student researching.

A Cyclone in the Making

Find your place at Iowa State University’s College of Design, where we like to ask questions, poke and prod, create something new, and make a difference through design.