Dubai has revealed plans to print a small office building through a 3D printer. The use of a printer to make three-dimensional objects from a digital design has taken manufacturing industries around the world by storm. But the concept is new in the construction sector.
Dubai's one-story prototype building, with about 185 sqm (2,000 sq ft) of floor space, will be printed layer-by-layer using a 20-foot tall printer. It would then be assembled on site within a few weeks. Interior furniture and structural components would also be built through 3D printing with concrete, gypsum reinforced with glass, fiber and plastic.
The innovative office will serve as temporary headquarters of the ‘Museum of the Future’ project that was announced in March and is scheduled to open in 2017.
Mohamed Al Gergawi, UAE Minister of Cabinet Affairs and Chairman of the National Innovation Committee, said in a statement: “We are keen to use the latest technologies to simplify people’s lives and to serve them better. This project is part of our overall innovation strategy to create new designs and new solutions in education, healthcare and cities.
“Our goal is to increase the happiness and wellbeing of our residents and to pioneer new solutions for the world.”
The technology will cut labor costs by 50-80 per cent and construction time by 50-70 per cent, according to expert estimates.
Al Gergawi said: “The idea of 3D printing buildings was once a dream, but today it has become a reality. This building will be a testimony to the efficiency and creativity of 3D printing technology, which we believe will play a major role in reshaping construction and design sectors. We aim to take advantage of this growth by becoming a global hub for innovation and 3D printing. This is the first step of many more to come.”
The project is a tie-up between Dubai and Winsun, a Chinese company that has been pioneering the use of 3D printers to build houses. Other major firms involved in the project include Gensler, Thornton Thomasetti and Syska Hennessy.