3D Printing

World's first 3D-printed office building completed in Dubai

The basic building took 17 days to print but then needed to be finished both internally and externally
The basic building took 17 days to print but then needed to be finished both internally and externally
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We first reported on what's now being called the Office of the Future back in 2015
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We first reported on what's now being called the Office of the Future back in 2015
Taking up a footprint of 250 sq m (2,690 sq ft), the building is fully-functional
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Taking up a footprint of 250 sq m (2,690 sq ft), the building is fully-functional
A large 3D-printer measuring 20 x 120 x 40 ft (6 x 36 x 12 m) printed the structure with a cement mixture layer by layer
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A large 3D-printer measuring 20 x 120 x 40 ft (6 x 36 x 12 m) printed the structure with a cement mixture layer by layer
The basic building took 17 days to print but then needed to be finished both internally and externally
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The basic building took 17 days to print but then needed to be finished both internally and externally
Inside the office building
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Inside the office building
Inside the office building
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Inside the office building
The basic building took 17 days to print but then needed to be finished both internally and externally
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The basic building took 17 days to print but then needed to be finished both internally and externally
The project is part of a push to make Dubai and the wider United Arab Emirates a leader in 3D-printed construction
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The project is part of a push to make Dubai and the wider United Arab Emirates a leader in 3D-printed construction
The workforce included a single staff member monitoring the printer's progress, seven people to install the building components, and 10 electricians and other specialists to handle more technical issues
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The workforce included a single staff member monitoring the printer's progress, seven people to install the building components, and 10 electricians and other specialists to handle more technical issues
The labor cost of the project was cut in half compared to conventional buildings of similar size and the workforce required was significantly reduced
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The labor cost of the project was cut in half compared to conventional buildings of similar size and the workforce required was significantly reduced

3D printing technology promises to revolutionize architecture in the near-future, allowing designers to literally click-and-print complex buildings at a lower cost and faster speed than traditional construction methods allow. Another step forward in the field comes via Dubai, where what's hailed as the world's first 3D-printed office was recently completed.

We first reported on what's now dubbed the Office of the Future back in 2015. Taking up a footprint of 250 sq m (2,690 sq ft), the building is located within Dubai's Emirates Towers complex and will serve as a fully-functional office.

A very large 3D printer measuring 20 x 120 x 40 ft (6 x 36 x 12 m) did most of the work, printing the building by extruding a cement mixture layer by layer, in a similar method by which WinSun's 3D-printed homes were made (WinSun is involved in this project too). There were also some additional smaller mobile 3D-printers used too, however.

It took 17 days to print the basic building, but it then required finishing both internally and externally. Though not detailed by the source, it seems that, like WinSun's 3D-printed homes, the building was printed in sections elsewhere before being assembled over two days on-site. We've reached out to the Dubai government to try and glean more information on this aspect.

The basic building took 17 days to print but then needed to be finished both internally and externally
The basic building took 17 days to print but then needed to be finished both internally and externally

We don't know the budget for the project, but the Dubai government says that the labor cost came in at half of what it would be for a building of similar size made using traditional methods.

The workforce included a single staff member monitoring the printer's progress, seven people to install the building components, and 10 electricians and other specialists to handle more technical issues, such as installing the building's electrical systems, for example.

The Office of the Future project is part of a wider push to make Dubai and the United Arab Emirates a world leader in 3D-printing. The scheme is focusing on construction, medical products, and consumer products.

Source: Government of Dubai

3 comments
Mel Tisdale
It is difficult to believe that the structural integrity of this building comes from cement alone. As far as I know cement is not particularly strong, especially when in tension. So, was any rebar used? And if so, how was it included in the printer operation? Or were the printed components simply decorative to hide a pre-assembled conventional steel frame? It would be nice to know how many floors this building has, and from that whether it has to conform to codes for seismic activity (10 or more floors according to a Google search). Whilst Dubai is not on a fault line earthquakes can and do occur absolutely anywhere, even where least expected. If it is totally concrete, then it could collapse in a pile of dust should one occur nearby.
gizReader47
Mel, perhaps you missed the gallery, or the initial picture. It's not the skyscraper, it's the single story, tube-like structure in the foreground. Looks like the building is two or three tubes in toto, and one would imagine that it meets code or would not have been approved.
Tim Collins
Since the printer needs to be transported, assembled, tested, supplied with wet concrete mix, supervised, corrected in-situ, then the 3D printer cleaned and removed, it would seem less costly to assemble the basic "smurf-like" shapes in a concrete factory then ship after they are set and the structural integrity has been full tested. This looks more like 3D Printing visual hype rather than a practical solution. A step-by-step video from a virgin site to occupation would offer a better "proof of concept".
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