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The Future Has Arrived: World’s First 3D Printed Office is Inaugurated in Dubai

The world's first 3D printed office.

The world’s first 3D printed office, designed by Gensler, was inaugurated last week in Dubai by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. Resulting from Gensler’s longstanding commitment to developing and driving the adoption of new design technologies, the 3D printed office is the world’s first example of a 3D printed structure that moves beyond prototyping to full occupancy. Architects have used 3D printing to build small study models, but the goal has been to print functional buildings at full size. Thornton Tomasetti and Syska Hennessy partnered with Gensler on the building.

"It’s exciting to be part of the team that produced the world’s first fully functioning 3d printed office,” said Gensler Principal Richard Hammond. "This paves the way for a future where 3D printing can help resolve pressing environmental and urbanization issues, and it allows us to deliver highly customized spaces for our clients in a much shorter time frame."

An interior in the world's first 3D printed office.

The approximately 2,600 square foot building serves as the executive offices for Dubai’s Future Foundation. Designed on behalf of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) National Committee, the office is composed of concrete components printed with a 20-foot high, 120 foot long, and 40 foot wide 3D printer by WinSun Global in Shanghai. Once printed, the components were shipped to Dubai, and installed on the grounds of the Emirates Towers. This innovative delivery model leveraged design synergies from around the globe, providing Gensler and its partners with the materials they required to create the first 3D printed structure fit for occupancy.

The result is a high-functioning, truly sustainable structure that was assembled, rather than built, with no formwork, no surplus and minimal waste. Using 3D printing technology reduced labor costs by 50-80 percent and construction waste by 30-60 percent overall. The project was not without challenges—ensuring the 3D printer could produce a building that adhered to established building and energy codes required creative problem solving—but the benefits far outweighed the challenges. The project demonstrates 3D printing’s potential promise for changing how we construct buildings and offers unprecedented opportunity for further innovations in construction practices.