Technology

DUBAI (Web Desk) – Dubai has unveiled the world’s first functioning 3D-printed office building, part of a drive by the Gulf’s main tourism and business hub to develop technology that cuts costs and saves time.

The unique building on the Emirates Towers premises will house the temporary office of the Dubai Future Foundation, the Emirates247 reported.

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The world’s first 3D-printed building used a special mixture of cement, a Dubai government statement said, and reliability tests were done in Britain and China.

The one-storey prototype building, with floorspace of about 250 square meters (2,700 square feet), used a 20-foot (6-metre)by 120-foot by 40-foot printer, the government said.

The printers – used industrially and also on a smaller scale to make digitally designed, three-dimensional objects from plastic – have not been used much for building.

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“This is the first 3D-printed building in the world, and it’s not just a building, it has fully functional offices and staff,” the United Arab Emirates Minister of Cabinet Affairs, Mohamed Al Gergawi, said.

“We believe this is just the beginning. The world will change,” he said.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, inaugurated the ‘Office of the Future’ on Tuesday.

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“We implement what we plan, and we pursue actions not theories. The rapidly changing world requires us to accelerate our pace of development, for history does not recognize our plans but our achievements,” the UAE ruler said.

The arc-shaped office, built in 17 days and costing about $140,000, will be the temporary headquarters of Dubai Future Foundation – the company behind the project – in the center of the city, near the Dubai International Financial Center.

Innovative features have been adopted in the office building to reduce energy consumption such as window shades to offer protection from direct sunlight and keep the building cool. Latest technology has been used in the management of information systems within the building.

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A 3D-printer measuring 20 feet high, 120 feet long and 40 feet wide was used to print the building. The printer features an automated robotic arm.

The labour involved in the printing process included one staff to monitor the function of the printer, in addition to a group of seven people to install the building components on site as well as a team of 10 electricians and specialists to take care of the mechanical and electrical engineering.

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As a result, the labour cost was cut by more than 50% compared to conventional buildings of similar size.

The opening ceremony was attended by Mohammad bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and The Future, Obaid bin Humaid Al Tayer, Minister of State for Financial Affairs, and a number of senior officials.