In early 2015, the UAE National Innovation Committee announced a project that will blow your mind and possibly shape the future for architecture. Al Gergawi, the Chairman of the UAE National Innovation Committee explained “this project reflects the vision of our leadership here in Dubai, the idea of 3D printing buildings was once a dream, but today it has become a reality.”
The project is the first by the Museum of the Future (which is set to open in 2017) and will use the 3D printed offices as a temporary headquarters for the museum. In time the offices will be used for learning purposes such a 3D printing exhibitions.
3D printing has come a long way since I used one to create a prototype radio for my GCSEs. Now only 5 years further on, the National Innovation Committee has planned earlier this year to print the world’s first office building. Amazing, right?
What is 3D printing?
Simply put, 3D printing is creating a physical object from a virtual model. 3D printers has similarities to ink and paper printers but instead of it printing ink on paper, 3D printers can print all a variety of filaments and print layer by layer until the product is reproduced in physical form. The layer by layer approach is called additive manufacturing and is commonly used on models and toys. For example when I made my radio, the 3D printer printed around 6 layers to construct together until it looked like the radio I initially drew up.
Do you think you could live in house that is completely 3D printed? Do you even think that it can be possible? 3D printing could potentially be the future of housing and office buildings and we shouldn’t be surprised that Dubai will print an office building as similar projects have also taken place. The project will be lead by WinSun who have the artillery to create such a building.
The 2000 square foot building will be constructed using a 20 foot tall 3D printer in the heart of Dubai. The printer will create the parts on site so there will be no need for shipping. Not only will the 3D printer create the frame and structure of the printed building, but also the interiors which are completely 3D printed.
The materials that will be used to create the building are special reinforced concrete (SRC), fibre reinforced plastic (FRP), glass fibre reinforced gypsum (GRG). By using these materials the construction time will only be a few weeks, labour costs will be reduced by 50 – 80% and construction waste will be reduced by 30-60%.
There is no doubt that the future of architecture and design is forever changing, but the UAE National Innovation Committee and WinSun along with some other companies have taken the design world by storm by planning to create the world’s first 3D printed office building. That truly will be one of the greatest landmarks of all time, and the world of 3D printing doesn’t stop there; the flexible materials also allows innovations such as the Biomimicry chair which was created by Lilian Van Daal.
Do you have belief in such a design? Leave your comments below, I’d be really interested to hear people’s opinions on this project.