It is difficult to grasp the notion of a 3 D printer as a method of building a complete office building, however, this is exactly what has been planned in the United Arab Emirates(UAE). They have a fully operational 3D-printed building project which will also have 3D printed furniture and 3D printed housing materials. To make is more authentic, this building will have the full-metal-enclosure of 3D printing modules that have been put together from the outside walls to the inside walls. Every aspect was created with 3D printer technology.
The actual printing will take place with a 20 foot-tall printer of 3D capacity. It will be in a central location in Dubai. It will do the actual construction of a 2,000 square-foot building. The materials that will be printed will be from Special Reinforced Concrete, Glass Fiber or Gypsum based material and Fiber Reinforced Plastic. These materials can be loaded in the 3D printing device to create the designed structure.
Who is behind all of this? His Excellency, Mohammed Al Gergawi, the UAE Minister of Cabinet Affairs and Chairman of the UAE National Committee for Innovation. He states that the goal is to “take advantage of this growth..” making the United Arab Emirates the focal point and hub of 3D printing. He also says that this is only the beginning. He has much planned after this first step.
His Excellency, Mohammed Al Gergawi, has coordinated the UAE’s project with the 3D-printing global company called WinSun Global who made their mark by printing via 3D technology, an apartment building. This took place in China, lead by architectural firms Gensler, Thorton, Thomasetti and Syska Hennessy. Mr. Al Gergawi stated on CNN iReport that he believes strongly in the aspirations of the UAE to undergo a complete transformation from being oil dependent to being a leader in various technological breakthroughs, especially architecture and unique design. The hope he and his colleagues have had is to draw in more foreign participation from the rest of the world to the Middle East, drumming up recognition from Tim Cook and others. Unfortunately, this development has not yet manifested as planned.
The exciting thing about 3D printing is that it is fast. A 2000 square foot building such as this one, also called the Museum of the Future, will only take 3 weeks to complete from start to finish. The labor force needed is 50 to 80% less than a conventional office building of similar size. Some jobs will be lost however, on a high note, the waste of construction materials is minimized substantially by a factor of 30 to 60%. Perhaps this technology will go a long way in eliminated the corruption of ‘kick backs,’ that plague many construction projects in the United States.