Dubai Unveils First 3D-Printed Office Building
Michael Molitch-Hou posted on May 26, 2016 |

Less than a month after announcing its Dubai 3D Printing Strategy, which aims to 3D print 25 percent of the city’s buildings by 2030, Dubai has unveiled its first 3D-printed building. The office building was inaugurated on May 23 by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Dubai, who discussed the future of 3D printing in his city.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum inaugurates the world’s first 3D-printed office building. (Image courtesy of the Government of Dubai Media Office.)
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum inaugurates the world’s first 3D-printed office building. (Image courtesy of the Government of Dubai Media Office.)

Dubbed the “Office of the Future,” the building is over a year in the making, with plans initiated in March 2015 Through a partnership with architectural and engineering firms Gensler, Thornton Thomasetti and Syska Hennessy, the design was created. WinSun Global, a Chinese firm known for its 3D-printed construction, was solicited to perform the printing of the structures that would be assembled into the completed office building.

The Office of the Future was 3D printed on WinSun’s extrusion system, which stands a mighty 20-feet tall, 120-feet long and 40-feet wide. The 3D-printed frame of the building is a concoction of cement and a specialty building material produced in the United Arab Emirates and United States. According to the Government of Dubai Media Office, this material has passed a variety of tests in China and the United Kingdom to confirm its reliability.

The Office of the Future was 3D printed in just 17 days. (Image courtesy of the Government of Dubai Media Office.)
The Office of the Future was 3D printed in just 17 days. (Image courtesy of the Government of Dubai Media Office.)

The building was printed off-site over the course of just 17 days before being brought to its final location at the Emirates Towers, where it was assembled in two days. Only one staff member was required to control the printer, seven people installed the individual office components on-site and 10 electricians and specialists oversaw the engineering as the building was erected. At the construction site, mobile 3D printers were implemented to finalize the building's assembly. According to the Government of Dubai, labor costs were reduced by more than 50 percent, compared to traditional construction techniques.

The interior of the 3D-printed office building is meant to be state-of-the-art. (Image courtesy of the Government of Dubai Media Office.)
The interior of the 3D-printed office building is meant to be state-of-the-art. (Image courtesy of the Government of Dubai Media Office.)

The resulting office, which features an arc shape that the government claims was chosen for “safety purposes and to ensure the stability of the building,” spans a space of 250 square meters (820 square feet). There are features that reduce energy consumption, specifically, built-in window shades to keep the building cool.

The Office of the Future is the first concrete example of the city’s larger Dubai 3D Printing Strategy;  the UAE hopes to establish itself by 2030 as an important player in the global 3D printing industry. Sheikh Mohammed elaborated on how the building fits into the city’s grander vision for 3D printing. "We see this project as a case study that will benefit regulators as well as research and development centers at the regional and international levels on the real application of 3D printing technology. We are documenting this experience and building on it to take advantage of the most important lessons, which will serve as reference points to take this technology to new levels."

While it is not the first 3D-printed building in the world, this may be the first 3D-printed office building; temporarily it will serve as the headquarters for the Dubai Future Foundation.

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