Dar Al Arkan 3D prints ‘smart’ villa in Riyadh

Low-cost local materials were used to create the 3D printable concrete, which was the primary construction material for the walls of the 330sqm structure

Saudi-based real estate developer Dar Al Arkan has announced the successful completion of one of the world’s tallest 3D printed buildings, a three-storey ‘smart home’ villa in Riyadh. The 9.9m tall building was 3D printed in just 26 days using a 3D construction printer from Denmark-based Cobod International.

The villa is said to be fully compliant with the relevant national building codes, making it a good example of how technology and innovation can work hand in hand with safety and regulation, said  a statement from the developer. Low-cost local materials were used to create the 3D printable concrete, which was the primary construction material for the walls of the 330sqm building, it added.

Wael Al Hagan, the 3D construction printing Project Manager from Dar Al Arkan said, “Our efforts are focused on developing the Kingdom’s real estate sector by integrating the latest trends and technologies, drawn from global best practices to enhance our industry locally and deliver on the objectives of vision 2030. The introduction of 3D construction printing enables us to focus on greater flexibility of design, strengthen productivity and achieve higher cost efficiency.”

The villa features ‘smart’ applications that control various functions of the house, including doors, locks, AC and lighting, and it also has nine solar panels on the roof, which generate enough electricity to power many of the villa’s integrated systems. Also, heat-reflecting nano-technology was used for painting the exterior walls, which makes the villa up to 40% more heat-resistant than traditional buildings. In addition, the exterior of the house is four times stronger that any built by regular construction methods, the developer explained.

In late November 2022, GUtech 3D said it printed three structures in eight days in Oman and, in late January 2023, it was announced that the world’s first 3D-printed mosque would be developed in Dubai.

Wael Al Hagan explained that, “The level of design flexibility, made possible using cutting-edge 3D printing technology, allows for easy and quick customisation of finishes and styles, enabling Dar Al Arkan to offer its future clients a truly personalized experience. With this feature, the company aims to create homes that are tailored to the unique tastes and preferences of their clients, setting a new standard in the real estate industry.”

On the use of new technology, Fahad Al Nasar, the Head of Innovation for The Ministry of Housing in Saudi Arabia remarked, “We are rapidly developing in the construction sector through our building technology initiative and implementing new measures to enable 70% of the Saudi population to have their own homes by 2030. Our strategy is to revolutionise the way people think about home through smart, futuristic methods.”

Dar Al Arkan said the project was executed using local materials and deployed the ‘D.fab’ solution developed by Cemex and Cobod. This solution allows its customers to use 99% local and inexpensive materials, while relying on only 1% sourced centrally.

On the completed 3D printed villa, Henrik Lund-Nielsen, the Founder & General Manager of Cobod concluded, “The three-storey villa from Dar Al Arakan is really representing state of art of the 3D construction printing industry both in terms of size and quality and in many other ways. The villa demonstrates the capabilities of the technology regarding scale, speed, use of cheap local materials and innovative solutions. Our technology delivers the fastest construction method in the world, and when this is combined with low-cost locally made concrete, a winning formula has been established.”

In early March 2023, Abu Dhabi University unveiled a 3D Concrete Printing Research Lab.

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