TRAILBLAZING EXAMPLE OF COMPUTER-CONTROLLED FABRICATION IN BUILDING CONSTRUCTION
BY Zoe Phoon
The building’s name, Office of the Future, may appear ordinary, but what its architect Killa Design has developed is anything but that.
Office of the Future is the world’s first fully functional and permanently occupied 3D printed office in the UAE’s Dubai, according to Architect Magazine, the journal of the American Institute of Architects.
Completed in 2016, the 2,691sq ft building is currently home to the Dubai Future Foundation as well as an exhibition space and incubator for future emerging technologies in the region.
The initiative is part of a Dubai 3D printing strategy which focuses on the development of 3D printing to improve people’s lives in the construction and medical sectors.
The building’s entire structure was manufactured using an additive concrete “printing” technique utilising a 3D printer 20ft high, 120ft long and 40ft wide.
The printer has a robotic arm to implement the printing process which lasted 17 days and was installed onsite in two days.
Subsequent work on the building services, interiors and landscape took about three months.
As a result of this innovative construction technique, labour cost was cut by more than 50% compared to conventional buildings of similar size.
Wastage onsite was minimised which helped to reduce the project’s overall environmental footprint.
The office complex radiates around a café courtyard. It comprises a lounge and gallery for exhibitions, events and workshops; a flexible space for team brainstorming and design work; and private meeting rooms for quiet work.
A series of openings throughout the project brings natural daylight deep into the space while enabling occupants to remain connected to the outside environment.
The building layout has been designed to facilitate a mix of creative interactions, quiet reflective work and meetings.
As part of Killa Design’s initiative to be involved in the most cutting edge and innovative projects, it made use of a super insulated cladding system, fabricated along computer-controlled manufacturing techniques, to form the unique and complex geometry of the building envelope.
Ben Piper, partner at Killa Design and architect behind the masterplan and cladding design, said the office’s progressive design conveys a shift from the traditional form of work environment, thus paving the way for stimulating innovation and communication within teams.
Unique in design and modularity, Office of the Future is hailed as a first major groundbreaking example of computer-controlled fabrication in building construction.
The project is a precursor to the Museum of the Future, also designed by Killa Design.
It’s part of the Dubai Future Agenda strategy launched by the UAE to become a major incubator of innovations and future technologies in the world.
Zoe Phoon is a business and lifestyle writer that can be reached at [email protected]