The Future of 3D Printing in Construction Industry

Kyle Krall
Senior Principal, UAE Director
Thornton Tomasetti, Dubai

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. This 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. The Office of the Future was built using 3D-printed concrete elements. The complex is approximately 250 square meters, and was printed using a 6-meter-tall 3D printer in China. Several precast techniques were adopted in the design and construction of the Office of the Future. The 3D-printed cassettes (segments) were printed in China and shipped and assembled on site in Dubai. Prior to assembly, the cassettes were tested in Dubai to verify the serviceability and strength performance. The 3D-printed cassettes are supported on cast-in-place concrete strip footings. The assembly and erection of the cassettes were done in just a few days.

This presentation provides an overview of the design and construction of the Office of the Future and a discussion of the printing technology, material properties and special design considerations, including shipping, handling and erection. The presentation will conclude with an outlook on the future of 3D printing in the construction industry, and the research required in order to advance large-scale 3D printing technology.