Last year, we got ourselves all worked up over the designs for the world’s first 3D-printed building, planned for Dubai. Designers bragged that the building would only take a few weeks to print and assemble, but we didn’t know at the time when—or even if—the building would ever go up. This week, the first fully 3D-printed and completely functional building has not only been built but has celebrated its grand opening, marking an architectural and engineering breakthrough.
Not surprisingly, the actual build looks exactly like the early renderings. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, inaugurated the 3D-printed office building in a ceremony on Monday attended by a number of UAE dignitaries. Named the “Office of the Future,” the 3D-printed building is located on the Emirates Towers premises and will be the temporary home of the Dubai Future Foundation.
“We announce today the opening of the first 3D-printed office in the world, after less than one month of launching Dubai 3D printing strategy which showcases a modern model of construction. This is an experience we present to the world on utilizing future technology in people lives. It also represents a new milestone for the UAE as a global leader in strategic achievements,” Sheikh Mohammed said.
The 3D-printed building has all the amenities of traditionally constructed structures, such as electricity, water, telecommunications, and air conditioning. The office is also outfitted with a number of energy saving features, including window shades to protect from Dubai’s blazing sun. In order to create all the pieces needed for the office, builders used a 3D printer measuring 20 feet high, 120 feet long, and 40 feet wide. Aside from the equipment, it took a very small team of workers to put the office together. Seven installers and 10 electricians and specialists worked together to assemble the fully functional office in just 17 days. Dubai’s media office estimates this represents a 50 percent cost savings in labor alone compared to buildings of similar size built with conventional methods.