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Chinese firm wants to build 3D-printed offices in Dubai

Step aside, multi-billion-dollar construction companies. The always-pioneering city of Dubai is about to prove that a completely functional office building can be set up with little more than a 3D printer.

A special 20-foot-tall printer will be able to spit out virtually all the varying components and layers for the single-story building, which will then be placed on site and manually assembled in the United Arab Emirates city. Once all is said and done, it will be a sprawling 2000-square-foot structure.

According to city officials, the efficiency of 3D printing will cut overall building time by upwards of 70 per cent and reduce labor by as much as 80 per cent, compared to traditional construction.

As reported by Khaleej Times (opens in new tab), the project will be spearheaded by the Chinese firm Winsun, which is striving to prove itself as a 3D printing trailblazer. The city of Dubai itself is also an active partner in the ambitious and first-of-its-kind endeavor.

UAE National Innovation Committee Chairman Mohammed Al Gergawi was quoted as saying, "We are keen to use the latest technologies to simplify people’s lives and to serve them better. This project is part of our overall innovation strategy to create new designs and new solutions in education, healthcare and cities. Our goal is to increase the happiness and well-being of our residents and to pioneer new solutions for the world".

One of the most high-concept revolutions in the seemingly infinite world of 3D printing is the idea of mass-produced affordable housing. Winsun has already turned that idea into reality, having printed several houses and even apartment buildings in China. Similar ambitions and proofs of concept have popped up in several countries, including the United States. So far, though, 3D-printed construction projects have remained largely conceptual. Incorporating the technology into a major cosmopolitan city like Dubai will be a big step in the right direction.

In addition to molding the exterior of the building, Winsun will also use 3D printing technology to create inner components as well, including all of the office furniture, with the aid of some non-printed materials like glass, concrete, and plastic.

Runaround tech support and unending office politics will presumably still be provided by humans.