The Benefits & Challenges of 3D Printing, from Dubai’s Office of the Future



The Benefits & Challenges of 3D Printing, from Dubai’s Office of the Future

Ben Piper
Partner & Design Principal, Killa Design

Located in Dubai, UAE, “The Office of the Future” is the world’s first fully functional and permanently occupied ‘3D-printed’ building, currently acting as temporary home for the Dubai Future Foundation as well as an exhibition space and incubator for future emerging technologies in Dubai. Designed by the Dubai-based architecture firm, Kila Design, the construction of the pavilion is part of a larger strategy launched by the UAE, to become a major incubator of innovation and future technologies for the world.

The entire structure was ‘printed’ in concrete using an additive manufacturing technique by a manufacturing partner in China. Intended to improve energy efficiency in the hot climate of the UAE, the insulated concrete walls are 31 inches (800mm) thick and oriented on the site to shade the inside through projected overhangs above the windows, while also maximizing visibility and natural light with its expansive floor to ceiling windows. While there are many design benefits to the customized free form 3D-printed structures, Ben Piper, Partner and Design Principal of Killa Design outlines some of the challenges for 3d printed concrete to become a low cost solution for social housing, including the long road towards standardization, prefabrication, and simplicity required for significant cost savings.

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