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Dubai 3-D Prints First Office Building

Friday, May 27, 2016

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Dubai, working to establish itself as a global hub for 3-D printing, unveiled what it called the world’s first 3-D printed office building this week.

Dubai’s ruler, United Arab Emirates Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, unveiled the building, which is serving as the offices of the Dubai Future Foundation. The official opening took place Monday (May 23).

Dubai's 3-D printed office building
Photos: Government of Dubai

The building area is 2,691 square feet, and “an arc shape was adopted for the building for safety purposes and to ensure the stability of the building.”

The plan for the building was announced last year, and will eventually be home to Dubai’s Museum of the Future.

First of Its Kind

According to the government of Dubai, the building is “the first of its kind prepared for actual use.” Buildings have been constructed using 3-D technology before, including a five-story apartment building in China, but none engineered specifically to be a functional office building, according to Dubai.

The main printer used to make the building components was 120 feet long and 40 feet wide, and a full 20 feet tall, according to Dubai officials, and the building is constructed of a mix of cement and “a set of building material designed and made in the UAE and the United States.” The printer and additional secondary printers were located onsite during the build.

Interior of Dubai office building

According to the government of Dubai, the building is “the first of its kind prepared for actual use.”

The printing of the building took 17 days, according to the government, and labor costs were less than 50 percent of what they would be with a comparable traditionally built structure.

The building area is 250 square meters (2,691 square feet), and “an arc shape was adopted for the building for safety purposes and to ensure the stability of the building,” according to Dubai officials.

3-D Printing Initiative

Last month, Sheikh Mohammed announced a plan to make 25 percent of all new construction in Dubai 3-D printed by 2030.

"We implement what we plan and we pursue actions, not theories,” Sheikh Mohammed is reported to have said at the opening. “The rapidly changing world requires us to accelerate our pace of development as history does not recognize plans but achievements."

Dubai is looking at the office building as a model for future projects to work from.

"We see this project as a case study that will benefit regulators as well as research and development centres at the regional and international levels on real application of 3-D printing technology,” Sheikh Mohammed said. “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."


Tagged categories: 3D Printing; Asia Pacific; Building Envelope; Building materials; Construction; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Latin America; North America; Office Buildings

Comment from Catherine Brooks of Eco-Strip, (5/27/2016, 12:09 PM)

Of course, Dubai companies have fortunes to invest in this technology. But in the US, will commercial contractors prepare for the skill and employment shift?

Comment from Jesse Melton, (6/1/2016, 7:35 AM)

It's far more complicated than coping with new technology. The Dubai Emirate is a monarchy with a small population made up almost entirely expats from Eastern Asia. That really helps when entrenched interests balk at new things. More importantly though, Dubai draws most of its revenue from tourism (private and commercial) and that tourism is largely centered around the architectural amusement park they've turned the city into. Because the population of UAE nationals in the city is so tiny (13%-15% of the total population), the effects of economic drivers are magnified at the individual level. It's in everyone's best interests to keep building unique structures. There's no analogue to any of those things in the US.

Comment from Andrew Piedl, (6/2/2016, 10:44 AM)

It reminds me of the aesthetics of early '70's Panasonic

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