Only a month after announcing the Dubai 3D Printing Strategy initiative to produce 25% of Dubai's buildings using 3D printing by 2030, the United Arab Emirates and Dubai unveiled the world's first 3D-printed building.

The 'Office of the Future' will be home to the Dubai Future Foundation's headquarters, where employees will focus on advancing 3D printing technology and make Dubai a global center for innovation regarding future building techniques.

To build the nearly 2,700-square-foot structure, Dubai used a printer measuring 20 feet x 120 feet x 40 feet, featuring a robotic arm to dispense a mixture of cement and building material developed by the UAE and USA. The full model took 17 days to print and two days to install on site.

Only 18 laborers were required to complete the building: one staff member to monitor the printer, seven people to install the building components on site, and 10 electricians and specialists to take care of the mechanical and electrical engineering. As a result, the labor cost was cut by more than 50% compared to conventional buildings of similar size.

"We see this project as a case study that will benefit regulators as well as research and development centres at the regional and international levels on real application of 3D printing technology. We are documenting this experience and building on it to take advantage of the most important lessons, which will serve as reference points to take this technology to new levels," said Sheikh Mohammed, ruler of Dubai.

The structure is the first 3D-printed building designed for use, as opposed to a model for practice, but Sheikh Mohammed suggested this would be just the beginning of developing the competitive advantages of 3D printing, including lower costs and faster delivery.