The Office of the Future was inaugurated on May 23, 2016 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
"Today we announce the opening of the first 3D-printed office in the world, after less than a month of launching Dubai 3D printing strategy,” said Sheikh Mohammed at the inauguration of the building.
The initiative comes as part of Dubai 3-D Printing Strategy, which was launched on April 27th, 2016 and focuses on the development of 3D printing to improve people’s lives. It will tackle three sectors: real estate and construction, medical, and consumer, and commits the Emirates to the use of 3D printing in 25% of its buildings by 2030.
“We see this project as a case study that will provide valuable lessons for the entire construction industry,” said Sheikh Mohammed. “It will also benefit governments around the world as they seek to better understand and and take advantage of this important technology.”
First in the World
The “Office of the Future” is first 3D-printed building of its kind. 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 to implement printing process. The entire structure was printed using a giant cement printer, then assembled on site. Printing took 17 days and was installed on in 2 days. Subsequent work on the building services, interiors, and landscape took approximately 3 months.
The labour involved in the printing process included one technician to monitor the function of the printer, a team 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. As a result, the labour cost was cut by more than 50% compared to conventional buildings of similar size.
Other projects have tested various elements of 3D printing before, but the Office is the first real building to be built at scale, with full services, that people can use on a daily basis. It is the first 3D printed office of its kind and the first fully functional 3D printed building in the world.
Located at the foot of the prestigious Emirates Towers, the Office of the Future showcases a range of unique designs that make it more sustainable, attractive, and comfortable to work in.
For example, the interior of the 250 square metre building (2,500 square feet) has been designed to facilitate a mix of creative interactions, quite reflective work, and serendipitous meetings. This reflects the latest research in 21st century work environments, which finds that the best ideas come from flexible teams, mobile support, and fluid partnerships. To achieve this, the Office has a public cafe, a partnership lounge for exhibitions, events and workshops, a flexible space for team brainstorming and design work, and private meeting rooms for quiet work. These are arranged in a way to encourage mixing of teams and ideas in creative ways.
The building is also extremely energy efficient. It is oriented to maximise visibility and natural light, but to shade the inside through digitally sculpted overhangs above the windows. This minimise direct solar heating and reduces the need for air conditioning and lighting. Further sustainability features include 100% LED lighting, responsive building systems, green landscaping, and low energy air conditioning and cooling.
Becoming a Centre of Innovation
The inauguration of the Office is part of a larger strategy called the Dubai Future Agenda, launched by the UAE to become a major incubator of innovation and future technologies for the world.
The Future Agenda reflects Dubai’s deepening commitment to develop breakthrough projects and initiatives with partners around the world that can help shape the 21st century for the better. The Office of the Future, and the Dubai Future Foundation, are a step in this direction.
“We implement what we plan, and we pursue actions not theories,” said Sheikh Mohammed. “The world is changing rapidly and we have to accelerate our pace of development, together. History does not recognise our plans but our achievements.”