Design Revealed: 3D-printed Campground Hotel El Cosmico by BIG X ICON

WORDS Cheri Morris IMAGES Courtesy of ICON, BIG for El Cosmico

Danish studio BIG has collaborated with 3D-construction firm ICON to transform campground hotel El Cosmico into a luxe, Martian-like desertscape of moon-based structures; a holiday mirage born of global architecture’s most novel technologies.

Located in Marfa, Texas and lead by hotelier Liz Lambert, the project is set to relocate to a 62 acre plot in the west Texas town to allow for new architectural approaches informed by both the desert landscape and BIG X ICON’s work with NASA – a recently-awarded contract to develop the Olympus construction system. This includes creation of pads, habitats, capsules and roads on the lunar surface and Mars, using extrusion-based additive construction technology (3D printing) and local materials like lunar regolith.

Campground Hotel El Cosmico

Expected to break ground in 2024 as a first exploration of such emerging vernacular, El Cosmico’s design reveals 3D-printed domes, vaults and parabolic forms of organic aesthetic. Beyond new guest accommodation, the structures will include a pool, spa and shared communal facilities that centre an artistic experience.

However new age the advancements in construction techniques though, the 3D printing still incorporates some of the oldest principles of raw earth-based building. Colour-matched to its surrounds, the design ensures an innately human feel despite being an entirely machine-built.

There’ll also be a series of homes made out of clusters of tube-like shapes grouped together to create a unique series of rooms. This circular schema will also be applied to the pool, set to be surrounded by a series of curved 3D-printed cabanas.

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