Further evidence that 3D printing is coming of age in the construction and design sector can be found in an announcement made in Dubai this week of plans to assemble the world's first fully functional 3D printed building.
The building will be located close to and is the first major initiative of the “Museum of the Future,” launched earlier this year in Dubai, and will act as temporary headquarters for its staff. It will be approximately 2,000 square feet in size and will be printed layer-by-layer using a 20-foot tall 3D printer, then assembled on site in a matter of weeks. All interior furniture, detailing, and structural components will also be built using 3D printing technology. The space will be open and flexible, allowing for a range of uses and the building is expected to host a mix of public and private events. It will also feature a small digital fabrication facility and a 3D printing exhibition space.
Experts have estimated that 3D printing technology can reduce construction times by 50 to 70 percent, reduce labor costs by 50 to 80 percent and can save between 30 and 60 percent of construction waste.
Mohammed Al Gergawi, UAE Minister of Cabinet Affairs and Chairman of UAE’s National Innovation Committee said that Dubai aims to become “a global hub for innovation and 3D printing. This is the first step of many more to come. This building will be a testimony to the efficiency and creativity of 3D printing technology, which we believe will play a major role in reshaping construction and design.”
The project is part of a larger partnership between Dubai and WinSun Global - a joint venture between Chinese 3D printing technology firm WinSun and international investors - along with the global architecture and engineering firms Gensler, Thornton Thomasetti, and Syska Hennessy.