What do office buildings and onions have in common? Layers! Dubai is gearing up to 3D-print an entire office building to temporarily house staff of the Museum of the Future. The high-tech structure takes the shape of an elliptical-shaped spectacle engraved with Arabic letters set to open in 2017. Its breathless marketing vaunts the fact that all interior fixtures and furniture will also be 3D-printed.
The building will go up layer by layer in “a process much like a baker might ice a cake,” 3D printing company WinSun Global claims on its website. The Shanghai-based firm, a joint venture between Chinese 3D printing technology company WinSun and international investors, is partnering with Dubai to fabricate the 2,000-square-foot building within a number of weeks.
While 3D printers have thus far been used to manufacture exterior walls or frames for homes, the technological museum claims that its sci-fi reminiscent, short-term headquarters will be the world’s first fully functioning, 3D-printed building and the most advanced 3D-printed structure ever built. Its exterior will be made of cement and printed concrete treated with special hardeners to ensure each layer can support the next. Reinforced plastic and glass fiber reinforced gypsum will also be used in construction.
“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 sectors,” said Mohammed Al Gergawi , UAE Minister Of Cabinet Affairs and The Chairman of UAE National Innovation Committee. “We aim to take advantage of this growth by becoming a global hub for innovation and 3D printing. This is the first step of many more to come.”
Experts estimate that courtesy of the advanced technology, construction time can be shaved by 50–70 percent, labor costs by 50–80 percent, and construction waste minimized by 30–60 percent. The project is the Museum of the Future’s first major initiative before it opens in 2017. While there is scant information on the office’s interior design, museum authorities maintain that it represents “the latest thinking in workplace design” based on “in-depth research about the requirements of future work.”