Currently a hippy campground in the Texas desert, El Cosmico is to be transformed into a futuristic, 3D-printed hotel resort complete with circular infinity pool and open-air spa. Jenny Southan reports

From yurts and Airstream trailers to 3D-printed pods, Texas-based hotelier Liz Lambert has a whole new vision for El Cosmico. In so doing, she has teamed up with architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and Austin-based start-up Icon to reimagine her cult-like nomadic campground in Marfa, Texas.

Breaking ground in 2024, the new 62-acre resort will feature large-scale 3D-printed, adobe-style abodes, that “celebrate the convergence of creative culture and the minimalistic natural environment of the Marfa landscape”.

The design of the Martian-like pods have been described as “at onece primordial and forward-thinking”. There will also be a communal pool and outdoor spa. (Reservations are rumoured to open from summer 2023.)El CosmicoEl CosmicoEl Cosmico founder Liz Lambert says: “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.

“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.”El CosmicoShe adds: “What’s more, the innovation and beauty of the types of structures we can build extends far beyond the box. It’s fitting that Icon has a contract with NASA to build the first dwellings on the moon and on Mars. I’m excited that we get to explore their incredible work right here in our own little cosmic landscape under the stars in far West Texas.”

Bjarke Ingels, founder and ceative director of BIG, says: “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.

“Liz Lambert’s legacy for reimagining hospitality and her pioneering of a contemporary Texan aesthetic combined with the Minimalistic nature and culture, art and landscape of Marfa has been the perfect fit to pursue a new architectural vernacular language for El Cosmico in Marfa.

“Organic shapes, Euclidian circular geometries and a color palette born from the local terroir makes El Cosmico feel as if literally erected from the site it stands on.” El CosmicoJason Ballard, co-founder and CEO of Icon, says: “The truly unique and divergent architectures made possible by 3D printing are really just beginning. One of the great joys of Icon is putting our technology into the hands of great creatives and seeing what possibilities emerge.

“The collaboration with Liz and Bjarke is a total dream, and it’s a tremendous honor for us to join them at the forefront of design and architecture. Liz is truly the Queen of Cool and one of the national treasures of Texas. It is incredible to help her cosmic imaginings become earthly reality.”

Earlier this month, the team debuted a 3D-printed performance pavilion in Austin, Texas, for South by Southwest (SXSW) festival.