Wells Fargo Joins Forces With ICON To Support Initiative 99 Global Architecture Competition To Design Homes for $99,000

$500,000 philanthropic commitment made to Austin-based nonprofit to build winning 3D-printed designs in underserved community
Mar 14, 2024 7:15 AM ET

AUSTIN, Texas, March 14, 2024 /3BL/ - Wells Fargo is joining forces with construction technology pioneer, ICON, to support its global architecture competition for affordable housing. The Wells Fargo Foundation is committing $500,000 in grant funding to Austin-based nonprofit Mobile Loaves & Fishes to help bring to life Initiative 99-designed homes and see multiple homes built at Community First! Village to serve the underhoused community. Announced during ICON’s showcase event at SXSW 2024, DOMUS EX MACHINA, ICON and Wells Fargo revealed the Initiative 99™winning designs from phase I of the competition to reimagine affordable housing solutions for $99,000 or less. Upon completion of Phase II of the competition, ICON and Mobile Loaves & Fishes will select one winning design for ICON to deliver multiple units within Community First! Village’s expansion of their growing development.

"The demand for more affordable, accessible and well-designed homes has never been greater, and Wells Fargo is committed to unlocking new ways of accelerating housing production while also reducing barriers to housing equity,” said Darlene Goins, president of the Wells Fargo Foundation. “ICON’s innovative 3D-printed technology paired with these beautiful, imaginative Initiative 99 designs represent a potential model for the future of affordable housing. Wells Fargo is proud to help make these homes a reality.”

"With Initiative 99, we are changing the way that we talk about affordable housing,” said Jason Ballard, co-founder and CEO, ICON. “When we talk about affordable housing, the conversation is often depressing and so are the results. Our goal is that Initiative 99 will create the conditions for affordable housing to be something hopeful, optimistic, and exciting, and furthermore be a catalyst for the building of some really incredible affordable homes that just years ago would not have even been possible. The future could be a wonder, but we have to all work together to make it so.”

According to ICON, the vision of a home with construction costs for $99,000 or less has inspired and motivated city planners, developers, government officials, and nonprofit organizations for decades. And yet clear barriers subsist for realizing a truly affordable housing prototype at scale within communities that need them most. The current approach to homebuilding and addressing the global housing crisis is not working as more than 1.2 billion globally lack adequate shelter.

"We are grateful for this extraordinary gift from Wells Fargo which will enable us to continue building some of the most innovative homes for the population we serve—men and women who are transitioning out of chronic homelessness," said Alan Graham, founder and CEO of Mobile Loaves & Fishes, the developer of Community First! Village. “Vulnerable individuals typically aren't at the top of the list to access leading-edge anything in our country. But now, because of the innovation and generosity from groups like ICON and Wells Fargo, you have individuals once pushed to the fringe of society who have an opportunity to live in some of the most unique homes ever built. Put simply, this is what 'being the goodness in our community' is all about."

Initiative 99 Phase I competition winners 

More than 60 countries from all over the world were represented in the Initiative 99 submissions with six winners and 10 honorable mentions being awarded prize money from the $1 million prize purse during the event and presented by Wells Fargo, lead supporter of the competition. The wide range of winning designs feature resilient, beautiful and dignified 3D-printed homes from student and professional architects from all over the world. The first, second, and third place designs in each category will each have their home designs featured in a collection in ICON’s CODEX, a new digital catalog of ready-to-print home architecture that allows builders, developers, and home buyers to build with ICON quickly and affordably using world-class architecture. To learn more about the winning designs, visit www.Initiative99.com.

Student category

  • 1st prize: Casa Fami (Spain)
  • 2nd prize: Juan Felipe Molano (Columbia)
  • 3rd prize: Victoria Roznowski (Germany)

Open category

  • 1st prize: MTspace Studio (New Zealand)
  • 2nd prize: For Everyday Life (United Kingdom)
  • 3rd prize: Beta Realities (Germany)

About ICON
ICON is a construction technology company developing robotic and AI systems to lower the cost and increase the speed and quality of construction. For more information visit www.iconbuild.com or follow on X™, Instagram®, Facebook®, YouTube®, or Threads® (@ICON3DTech).

About Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a leading financial services company that has approximately $1.9 trillion in assets. We provide a diversified set of banking, investment and mortgage products and services, as well as consumer and commercial finance, through our four reportable operating segments: Consumer Banking and Lending, Commercial Banking, Corporate and Investment Banking, and Wealth & Investment Management. Wells Fargo ranked No. 47 on Fortune’s 2023 rankings of America’s largest corporations. In the communities we serve, the company focuses its social impact on building a sustainable, inclusive future for all by supporting housing affordability, small business growth, financial health, and a low-carbon economy. News, insights, and perspectives from Wells Fargo are also available at Wells Fargo Stories.

Additional information may be found at www.wellsfargo.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/wellsfargo

Contact Information


Wells Fargo