Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
CTBUH Chicago Presents: Insights and Innovations - The First 3D Printed Office Building
December 16, 2015
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CHICAGO – The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) Chicago Chapter, in association with the Young Professionals Committee (YPC),  held a presentation on December 16, 2015 at the Chicago office of Thornton Tomasetti, which introduced current research and advances in the field of 3D printed building design. The 3D Printed Office Building, or Project Unicorn, is a result of a partnership between WinSun Global, Gensler, Thornton Tomasetti, and Syska Hennessy Group. The project was presented by Jorge Barrero, Senior Associate, and Daniel Caven, Designer, of Gensler and Ken Maschke, Senior Associate, Thornton Tomasetti. Sasha Zeljic, Design Principal, Gensler, moderated the event.

Barrero introduced the first 3D printed office building and background information regarding some of the research. The project is the result of an initiative to execute and print sustainable, affordable housing in the Middle East, Africa, and Haiti. It has become and exploration of the use of 3D printing in the fabrication of low-rise commercial and residential buildings. This research has opened the doors to the first 3D printed office building in the world, which is currently under construction in Dubai. The team seeks to revolution the approach currently taken toward construction to challenge the industry to think differently. What makes this project unique is that current 3D printed projects only print the structure or shell. This office building will have its structure, interior wall, and furniture all 3D printed.
Jorge Barrero, Gensler, introduces the first 3D printed Office Building.
Jorge Barrero discusses the exploration of 3D printing in the low-rise commercial and residential buildings. 
Ken Maschke of Thornton Tomasetti discussed some of the structural challenges of this approach. In the first iteration of the project the walls were the only items printed. They would then be shipped on site and placed on top of a poured concrete slab. As the project further developed, the walls, floor, and roof became a combined system. The project took the shape of a cassette, where the top and bottom half could be disconnected from one another. This was partly due to transportation purposes, the structure would now have the ability to be placed in a shipping container and be easily shipped. 
Ken Maschke, Thornton Tomasetti, discusses some of the structural challenges of the process.
Daniel Caven, Gensler introduces current trends of 3D pringting the market.

Daniel Caven of Gensler introduced current trends in the market. He discussed the possibility of having commingled soft and hard materials while 3D printing, allowing for a flexible medium. The ability to dual print materials could also allow for new possibilities in 3D printing structures. This could lead to new developments in Kinematics, as rigid structures can become more flexible.  Caven then ended the presentation with a video of the project that wowed the audience. It showed how the 3D office building could become customizable and allow for different users to change the character of the building. What had once been a dream or fascination for many in the building industry has slowly become a reality. To learn more about this project, click on the video below.

Watch the video here to learn more about the 3D printing process!

Attendees Company
Kim Clawson AON
Eliza Broekere BlueDesign
Carolyn Armenta Davis CADavis
Shawn Clark CLAYCO
Frank Laux CTL Group
David Cook CTL Group
Panos Bakos DLR
Alfred Schaffer EMW
Julide Demirdoven ESD
Aleksandar Sasha Zeljic Gensler
Mariusz Klemens Gensler
Maged Zagow  IIT
Jackie Villa  Jahn
Sergio Valentini Jahn
Johnny Mullins Lend Lease
Laura Garcia McHugh
Hal Chaffee Model Builders, Inc.
Jane E. Cameron P+W
Marius Ronnett P+W
Christopher Woodfin Pappageorgehaymes Partners
Janis Saltans SA
Jaak Jurisson SAIC
Janice Ninan STL
Mauricio Sanchez Studio Gang
Thorsten Johann Studio Gang
Jerry Szatan Szatan & Associates
Saul Moreno Thornton Tomasetti
Timothy Wong Thornton Tomasetti
Taylor Dodson Thornton Tomasetti
Audrey Henderson
William Lenski
Bill Wiley
Robin Garcia
Charles Garcia Jr.
Busra Boztepe
S Orlove 
Richard Hogan
John Ruffolo