In just a few days, a building that architects are heralding as the world’s first 3D-printed office building will open in Dubai.
Inaugurated this past week and opening Tuesday, the new executive offices of the Dubai Future Foundation are made of concrete elements printed in Shanghai with a 120-foot-long 3D printer. The pieces were then shipped to the United Arab Emirates, as illustrated in the video below released by the official media office of Dubai:
The powerhouse architectural firm Gensler designed the 2600-square-foot office, made up of several low-slung structures that look like a futuristic take on The Flintstones’s Bedrock. Gensler estimates that printing the office instead of building it on-site saved up to 80 percent in labor costs and up to 60 percent in construction waste.
Architects have been experimenting with 3D printing on a larger and larger scale, including intricate concrete bricks and rapidly manufactured housing. Singapore is working on 3D-printed skyscrapers, and WinSun, the company that printed the components of this building, has already constructed a multi-story building for display. But most 3D-printed architecture is still in the prototype phase. A real, working 3D-printed building is a major step forward, and it’s no surprise that it happened in Dubai, where some of the most elaborate and ambitious modern architecture projects (such as the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, among other outsized designs) have been cooked up in the last 15 years.
All images © WAM courtesy Gensler