The government of Dubai today announced another milestone for the UAE city in the area of construction 3D printing. Now, not only is Dubai home to the first 3D printed office building, it also hosts the largest 3D printed two-storey structure in the world. The building, which spans 640 square meters and is 9.5 meters in height, was recently recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records.
The two-storey building was presented this week by the Dubai Municipality and showcases the Middle Eastern city’s continued commitment to its 3D Printing Strategy and, specifically, its plan to construct 25% of buildings in Dubai using 3D printing by 2030.
At first glance, the 3D printed building does not grab the eye. But it is precisely this feature that adds to its success. Dubai has shown that 3D printing can be used to produce not only novelty homes and structures but also usable, practical spaces.
“The two-storey building has been designed and executed with a number of spaces that can be used as rooms or offices of different sizes,” said Dawoud Al Hajri, Director General of Dubai Municipality. “The walls are printed directly from the printer, unlike the traditional method of construction, which depends on the work of tightening wooden pieces with nuts and bolts, reinforcement and pouring of concrete and making bricks. The building has been designed with different curves and shapes through which it was tested whether it can be possible for 3D printing in the construction of a variety of designs.”
As Al Hajri says, the construction of the 3D printed building enabled the Dubai Municipality team to experiment with and test a number of material mixes, to ensure that the extruded material was not only smooth to print but also met quality and strength requirements.
Interestingly, the project also focused on the sustainable aspect of 3D printing, and the 3D printed building reportedly complies with sustainability requirements and green building standards. Even the building material was sourced locally from within the UAE (the mixture recipe is protected as IP of Dubai Municipality).
The 3D printed house integrates a number of features, such as internal wall structures to increase insulation efficiency. The hollow voids within the printed walls can be utilized to improve thermal insulation and ultimately reduce energy consumption. They can also be used to integrate electricity, water, communications and IT functions into the building seamlessly.
Al Hajri added: “This project is a major turning point in the construction sector at the local and regional levels and is based on the strategy of innovation in 3D printing technologies in construction, which in turn will increase the pace and speed of execution and completion of buildings in record time, and reduce construction costs and contribute to the development of solutions to the demographics challenges by reducing the number of construction labor.
“It will also support the Emirate’s sustainability trends using local materials and reduce construction waste, where printing is done electronically according to engineering plans directly without human intervention.”