Chinese construction company Winsun is teaming up with the city of Dubai to build the world’s first 3D printed office building. The building will be one storey tall and about 2,000 square feet. It will be printed out in sections by a 20-foot tall printer. Interior design and structural components will also be 3D printed, and the building will make use of reinforced concrete, gypsum reinforced with glass fiber, and plastic.
3D printing technology has taken the world by storm, but it has largely been used in smaller projects. This will be the first large building to make use of the technology.
Winsun has already established itself by using 3D printers to construct small houses in China. Their buildings are made from recycled construction materials, which make them more environmentally friendly. As they expand operations, they also intend to build a number of recycling facilities around China to help keep up with construction demands.
According to Mohammad al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs for the United Arab Emirates, studies have shown that 3D printing buildings would be cost-effective in several ways. He says that building time could be cut by anywhere from 50-70 percent, a number that seems to be borne out by Winsun’s experience. They’ve built houses in less than 24 hours with their massive 3D printer. He also claims that labor costs could be reduced by 50-80%, as Winsun prints the buildings in sections which are then put together, reducing the number of construction workers required for each step in the process.
The project could set a new precedent for fast-growing Dubai and could be a huge boon for other growing communities. By reducing construction time and labor, projects like this could be made significantly cheaper. It stands to reason that the initial investment in a printer would be hefty, though.