60 years ago we got the Monsanto House of the Future; now we have the Office of the Future.
Last year we showed the renderings of the 3D printed building proposed for Dubai, which was to be “the world’s first fully functional 3D printed building”; Now it is built and it is not dubious at all. In fact, it is quite the thing.
Crown Prince of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum was there for the opening and said:
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.
The building uses Chinese company WinSun’s tilt-up technology, where the floor, walls and ceiling are all printed on their side in 2D layer by layer, then tilted vertically. It's a really clever system, although it probably is limited to single story buildings. When WinSun has done multi-storey structures, they have not done the tilting up and have instead dropped or poured floors on the walls. But it's perfect for this kind of use. Ideally, the printer would be located at the job site in Dubai, but in this case it was built in WinSun’s factory in China. The modules were cut in half so that they could be shipped more easily and reassembled on site.
According to Architect Magazine, The approximately 2,600-square-foot, single-story, multi-building campus was designed by Gensler for the United Arab Emirates National Committee as the headquarters for the Dubai Future Foundation (DFF).
“This paves the way for a future where 3D printing can help resolve pressing environmental and urbanization issues, and it allows us to deliver highly customized spaces for our clients in a much shorter time frame,” Gensler principal Richard Hammond said in a statement. Gensler worked with structural engineering firm Thornton Tomasetti and mechanical engineering firm Syska Hennessy to realize the design.
According to the press release,
A 3D-printer measuring 20-feet high, 120-feet long and 40-feet wide was used to print the building that featured an automated robotic arm to implement printing process. The method cut the labour cost by more than 50 per cent compared to conventional buildings of similar size. As a fact, one staff was required to monitor the function of the printer, a group of seven people to install the building components on site and a team of 10 electricians and specialists to take care of the mechanical and electrical engineering.
In look and feel, and even in the colours, it reminds me of the Monsanto House of the Future that inspired me as a child. I find this pretty inspiring too; WinSun is really on to something with its technology, which lets them print out floors, walls and ceilings all at once. We are going to see a lot more of this.