The world’s first 3D-printed office building opened this week in Dubai,Reuters reports. The 2,700-square-foot, single-story building was built in just 17 days using a gigantic, 20-foot tall 3D printer and a special mix of concrete, fiber reinforced plastic and glass fiber reinforced gypsum.
Although the “printer” was massive at about two stories tall, 120 feet long and 40 feet wide, it only needed one staffer to make sure it was functioning properly. The rest of the 18-person construction crew consisted of installers, electricians and mechanical engineers who completed the job for a mere $140,000 in construction and labor costs — or about half the price of a comparable structure built with conventional methods. Of course, the building is more than just another gold star in the UAE’s ultramodernplayland — it will also serve, appropriately enough, as the temporary headquarters for the Dubai Future Foundation. Next year, the structure is scheduled to become the home of Dubai’s Museum of the Future.
“This is the first 3D-printed building in the world, and it’s not just a building, it has fully functional offices and staff,” the UAE Minister of Cabinet Affairs, Mohamed Al Gergawi said. According to Gergawi, Dubai plans to have 25 percent of the buildings in the emirate built via 3D printing by the year 2030.
The use of 3D printing in architecture is still small as logistics are being ironed out, but a new proof of concept has just been unveiled. The 250-square-metre space (2,700 square foot) is what Dubai’s Museum of the Future project is calling the world’s first 3D-printed office building. China unveiled the world’s first 3D printed office building and mansion in early 2015.
First announced in June 2015, the new building’s purpose is to showcase the United Arab Emirates’ commitment to innovation and looking to the future, and promote the UAE as a world leader in 3D printing.
“We implement what we plan and we pursue actions not theories. The rapidly changing world requires us to accelerate our pace of development as history does not recognize plans but achievements,” Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said at the grand opening.
A 3D printer was used to print the building in a special cement mixture, layer by layer. In all, it took a total of 17 days to print the building at a cost of about $140,000, after which the interior and exterior design details were added.
One person was employed to monitor the 3D printer. Another seven people took care of the installation of building components on-site, and another 10 electricians and other specialists looked after the engineering. They represented a savings of 50 percent on normal labour costs.
The open plan office will initially house the Dubai Future Foundation temporarily. In addition to providing a workspace, it could also, in the future, be used to host exhibitions, workshops and other events.