The Office of the Future: Case Study in the Use of 3D-Printed Concrete in Design and Construction

Benjamin Piper
Principal and Design Partner
Killa Design, Dubai

This presentation explores the development of the world’s first fully functional and permanently occupied 3D-printed building: The Office of the Future. It condenses the experience of delivering the award-winning project as a case study example of the adopted use of 3D-printed concrete in building design and construction. The presentation starts with a brief overview of the history of 3D printing in construction and its potential to improve the quality of the urban habitat through a responsive and adaptive design language while also reducing the transportation, labor and waste footprint. The process of “printing” the structure using an additive concrete technique is described. The structural, functional and aesthetic aspects of the system and the lessons learned in physically constructing a 3D-printed building, within the given constraints of time and budget, are shared.

The presentation demonstrates the use of scripted algorithms to adapt the design according to environmental factors, and it highlights the need for current construction technology to adapt if such responsive design approaches are to be effectively translated into realizable and affordable buildings. The presentation describes how such an approach could be utilized to better respond to the increasing challenges of polycentric urban growth, particularly in constrained tall building sites that severely hamper traditional approaches to design and construction. It concludes by outlining future possibilities for 3D-printed concrete and construction techniques, and shows how these approaches can support improved quality in future urban habitats.