Dubai Gets World’s First 3D-Printed Office Building
Dubai shows us that it's possible to build an entire office building with 3D printing technology
3D printing technology has been used to print everything from figurines to braces to medical tissue. It’s also been hotly considered for building temporary shelter houses following a natural disaster. This possibility alone has shown that 3D printing tech has the power to revolutionize the future of architecture, with Dubai serving as the first city build an entire office building using a 3D printer.
They’re calling the project the Office of the Future, and it began in 2015. The building is approximately 2,690 square feet and is located near the Emirates Towers complex. Now that the project is completed, it will serve as a fully functional office complete with separate rooms, bathroom, plumbing, and other fixtures.
“We implement what we plan, and we pursue actions not theories. The rapidly changing world requires us to accelerate our pace of development, for history does not recognize our plans but our achievements,” said Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum opening the structure alongside the Crown Prince of Dubai.
To finish the project, developers primarily used a printer that was approximately 20 x 120 x 40 feet. It used a cement mixture that added layer upon layer for 17 days until the building was complete. After the very short building period, electricians, designers, and plumbers went to work to add the necessary features to make the office usable.
The building was not entirely printed in one sitting, however. Though the bulk of the work was completed by the printer named above, there were also several smaller, mobile 3D printers handling smaller projects. Over the course of two days, all the parts were assembled on-site.
Even though the printing part of the project took less than three weeks to complete, it was still a lengthy process from start to finish. It took approximately six months to complete, which isn’t too bad as far as office buildings go, but it’s not exactly impressive either.
However, the time factor is not the largest driving decision behind making the office building a reality. The Dubai government said that using 3D printing cut the cost of the project in half for what it would cost to build an office building of the same size using traditional methods.
The Office of the Future could be the first of many projects to come in which 3D printing does the bulk of the work. Even though the initial cost of purchasing and maintaining a printer of this size is high, it has proven to reduce overall building costs.
It’s difficult to tell at these early stages, however, if the building will be able to withstand the same pressures as a normal office building. The longevity of the building is not yet known, so it’s not entirely clear how well this form of building will meet today’s building standards, but it’s still an exciting prospect. The idea of being able to build buildings in just weeks, at a fraction of the cost of traditional methods, is something to be applauded.
Dubai’s government is very excited about the development.