UAE-based Pantheon Development in talks to 3D print eleven-storey building

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Dubai-based real estate developer Pantheon Development has revealed that it’s currently weighing up the possibility of 3D printing an entire eleven-storey building. 

At present, the company is reported to be in talks with three unnamed U.S. and European construction firms, to discuss the commercial and logistical viability of additive manufacturing such a massive structure. If the project does go ahead, it’ll not only serve to further Dubai’s wider goal of 3D printing 25% of its buildings by 2030, but see the construction of the first skyscraper of its kind in the world. 

“We are in talks with three companies from the U.S. and Europe to get their proposals for a G+10 storey building,” explained Kalpesh Kinariwala, Chairman of Pantheon Development. “We have to make sure that the project is scalable, as without that factor, building one stand-alone building will make it costly and commercially unviable.”

“The emirate [Dubai] has actively promoted 3D printing in construction as part of its aspirations to be a regional and international hub for the technology.”

One of Pantheon Development's luxury apartment blocks.
Pantheon Development is already building several luxury apartment blocks using conventional construction technologies. Image via Pantheon Development.

Pantheon’s skyscraping ambition

Based on the edge of Dubai’s Umm Al Sheif residential area, Pantheon Development is a developer of luxury homes, villas, apartments and penthouses. Ordinarily, the firm builds these lavish housing communities via normal construction methods, but it’s now said to be weighing up the adoption of 3D printing for the first time. 

The buildings being proposed are reported to be ‘G+10’ structures, or ground floor plus ten stories, making their size and scale unprecedented in the world of concrete 3D printing. As a result, only a handful of firms possess technologies capable of erecting something of that magnitude, making it possible to take an educated guess at who could be behind it. 

In Europe, Danish 3D printer manufacturer COBOD has established itself as a leader in the field over the last three years, building multiple houses, including a three storey apartment. One of the company’s BOD 2 systems has also been adopted by Elite for Construction & Development, a firm based in the UAE’s neighboring Saudi Arabia, although there’s nothing to suggest it has since been deployed at scale. 

The BOD2 printing the first floor of the three-floor building. Image via COBOD.
Pantheon Development is now talking to three different firms to establish the viability of 3D printing ‘G+10’ structures. Image via COBOD.

Likewise, in the U.S, ICON has continually pushed the boundaries of what’s possible with concrete 3D printing, and it recently raised $207 million to fund the R&D of its technologies. Earlier this year, the company also revealed that it had built four multi-storey buildings in East Austin, before unveiling its next-gen Vulcan machine, but even for ICON, erecting an eleven-storey structure would be extraordinary. 

However, despite this, and the fact that the project is only at the evaluation stage, Pantheon Development is actually weighing up the construction of more than one G+10 building, if contractors can prove that 3D printing is appropriately scalable. 

If the company’s discussions do indeed turn into concrete plans, the next step for the project will be registration with the Dubai Municipality. This is due to a recent decree issued by the UAE’s Prime Minister Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, which is designed to regulate 3D printing in Dubai’s construction sector, attract leading tech firms and foster economic growth. 

The interior of the 3D printed two story building in Al Warsan, Dubai. Photo via ECC.
The interior of a 3D printed two-storey building in Dubai, which was previously credited with a Guinness World Record. Photo via the ECC.

3D printing in the UAE

Over the last three years, the UAE has turned into a hive of 3D printing activity, as the country has sought to diversify its economy by adopting advanced technologies at scale. Since Immensa Technology Labs first filed a construction 3D printing patent there in 2018, the likes of 3DVinci Creations, ACCIONA and Freyssinet subsidiary Concreative, have each opened UAE-based concrete printing facilities

Dubai’s Electricity and Water Authority, or ‘DEWA,’ has also invested heavily in 3D printing, and recently deployed the technology to erect an additive manufacturing research lab. Built specifically to house the Emirate’s new rover and drone design facilities, the complex packs a suite of Markforged Metal X machines, for spare part and prototyping applications. 

Elsewhere, the Emirate has a history of breaking construction records as well, lending some credence to Pantheon Development’s upcoming plans. Back in 2019, the Dubai Municipality unveiled a 640 sq. meter building project, which was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records at the time as the world’s largest 3D printed two-storey structure.

The nominations for the 2021 3D Printing Industry Awards are now open. Who do you think should make the shortlists for this year’s show? Have your say now. 

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Featured image shows a gantry-mounted 3D printer being used to build a house. Image via MEP Middle East.