In a world first, the oil-rich Emirates state of Dubai has announced plans to construct an entire office complex using 3-D printing.
The one-story office will have around 2,000 square feet of floor space and will be printed layer-by-layer using a 20-foot tall 3-D printer, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) official news agency said this week. Once the building is constructed, all the furniture and interior fixtures will also be built using 3-D printing.
"This building will be a testimony to the efficiency and creativity of 3-D printing technology, which we believe will play a major role in reshaping construction and design sectors," said Mohamed Al Gergawi, chairman of the UAE National Innovation Committee.
Dubai has partnered with WinSun Global, a Chinese construction firm, to complete the project using the innovative printing method. The buildings will be made from reinforced concrete, gypsum reinforced with glass fiber and plastic.
WinSun has made headlines in the past by using 3-D printing to create 10 small houses in 24 hours, as well as building the world's tallest 3-D printed building— a five-story apartment block.
Previously, WinSun has used 3-D printing to create individual components of these buildings, which are then put together, but for the Dubai project the entire structure will be 3-D printed as one complete building.
Assembly of the project is expected to take just a few weeks and labor costs are seen being reduced by 50 to 80 percent by the use of 3-D printing.