Texas to Welcome the World’s First 3D Printed Hotel

Iconic retreat reimagined as a technology-inspired resort.

Jun 12, 2023
Texas to Welcome the World’s First 3D Printed Hotel | Iconic retreat reimagined as a technology-inspired resort.

It’s not just people who can reinvent themselves. El Cosmico is a campground hotel in the Chihuahuan Desert city of Marfa, western Texas, known for its Bohemian vibe that balances “adventure and do-nothingness,” as the This Week In FM video reveals.

But according to the luxury lifestyle publication AugustMan, it is relocating to a 62-acre site, almost triple in size. Here it is morphing into a hospitality hub with awe-inspiring architectural elements thanks to innovative 3D printing technology.

3D printing has diversified in its applications in recent years, taking in everything from household items to organs to cars, as Forbes details in its look at the world’s first 3D printed hotel, slated to open in 2024.

A resort redesign that respects Marfa’s desert setting
This revamp is being driven by a creative collaboration between Texas-based hotelier Liz Lambert, Icon, a company considered a pioneer in larger 3D printing projects, and renowned architects, the BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group. The latter’s website explains that while continuing the El Cosmico tradition of celebrating the convergence of creative culture and the expansive, tranquil natural environment of the Marfa setting, the new community will feature large-scale printed structures including “domes, arches, vaults and parabolic [curved] forms.”

As This Week in FM explains in its video, these striking, curved forms can only be created using 3D printing, in which walls and domes are printed at high speeds while retaining their form and reducing waste. They are also proving remarkable for their impressive strength in structural tests.

Travel inspiration portal, Thrillist, has more insights into the specifics of the redevelopment: A circular infinity pool and an open-air bathhouse are set to accompany designs inspired by the development of lunar homes! It points out that 3D printing construction firm, Icon, has a current contract with NASA to create the first interplanetary dwellings on the Moon and Mars.

Bjarke Ingels, founder and creative director at BIG describes how the project has allowed his practice to pursue “the formal and material possibilities of cutting-edge 3D printed construction untethered by the traditional limitations of a conventional site or client.” The result, he enthuses, is a truly reimagined hospitality space that combines a contemporary Texan aesthetic with the minimalistic nature, culture, art and landscape of Marfa.

This freedom to create has inspired the team “to pursue a new architectural vernacular language for El Cosmico… organic shapes, Euclidian circular geometrics and a color palette born from the local terrain makes El Cosmico feel as it literally erected from the site it stands on.”

At the center of an ‘exodus from urgency’
As El Cosmico’s website details in its manifesto, the worldview at this resort is one of reflection and relaxation,  leading to a stepping away from the obsession with productivity that so often defines work. Rather, it “is at the center of this exodus from urgency” attained through rest and a calm celebration of the moment as well as nature immersion through activities like outdoor bathing and the invitation to a “hammock grove.”

The resort’s website also highlights that the vast landscape of the high plains desert and the expanse of the night sky are the perfect backdrop for this sense of timelessness, with a lobby-only WiFi to encourage a more offline lifestyle.

Home architecture inspired by place
The El Cosmico site will also feature around 30-40 residential homes, also crafted with 3D technology. These homes, are architecture inspired by place. This translates to features that include windows and skylights strategically placed to let in an abundance of light, a back porch trellis to serve as a frame for vines and plants offering shade that are a popular feature at the current El Cosmico site, and modular silo-inspired structures that promise both privacy and solar protection for these homes. 

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Daphne has a background in editing, writing and global trends. She is inspired by trends seeing more people care about sharing and protecting resources, enjoying experiences over products and celebrating their unique selves. Making the world a better place has been a constant motivation in her work.