3D printed sandstone vault is the next big thing happened in UAE. Barberio Colella Architetti, a leading Italian design firm has joined hands with Architect Angelo Figliola to create an Urban Dunes project that will reduce the heat island effect for an extreme climate like Abu Dhabi using 3D printed sandstone.
The climate of Abu Dhabi is no stranger for people and is hostile to normal activities, making this project more interesting. This 3D project by the Italian company is certainly a great initiative.
Urban Dunes Project
To create the Urban Dunes project, both the design experts worked on elaborating design idea originated from in-depth awareness of the climatic context of Abu Dhabi’s and Emirates traditional architecture like the elegant vaulted spaces, vernacular shading devices, and cold-water basins. Experts of Urban Dunes project wanted to emulate UAE’s traditional architecture using locally available sand to get the desired effect of urban “Oasis”.
Since the project was not that easy to complete, experts had to shift to 3D printing technology. The 3D technology is quite increasingly used for the construction purpose.
The vault is composed of multiple steriotmic blocks made of 3D printed sandstone using the local sand as a primary material. The use of 3D printed vault with a thickness of 55 cm, allows avoiding overheating of the urban space thanks to the high thermal mass of the shell.
The process of Sand Dunes
In the process, sand is mixed with heat reflective, cool pigments to increase the surface reflectance to reduce surface heat build-up. The space below the 3D printed sandstone vault representing the urban microclimatic space protected from the sun by using Mashrabiyya, a vernacular sun-shading device.
Besides, the space under the shell is naturally ventilated with the use of a low-tech system as the earth pipes and four mini wind catchers placed by following the CFD analysis. The 3D sandstone vault consists of palm trees and two waterfall fountains working with the combination with natural ventilation of the space. This gives a refreshing sensation, psychologically reinforced by the sigh of the flowing water.
The 3D printed Urban Dunes project features two active systems to maximize cooling efforts. On the one hand, a high-pressure misting system used for reducing the surrounding air temperature significantly by forcing water via high-pressure pump producing a micro-fine mist. The shell, on the other hand, is cooled using a network of tubing through which flows a cooling fluid.
Barberio Colella Arc, an Italian company, works on providing innovative architectural and interior design service. The company has been using 3D printing technology in most of its architectural project.
3D printing wind in UAE
3D Printed projects are taking greater space in UAE. Recently, a two-year old start-up company Proto21 provides life-saving materials for frontlines of the Covid-19 in UAE. The company run by Pir Arkam had a scary coronavirus period. “When the pandemic began, business went away. I thought, we would not be able to pay salaries. But then suddenly I got a call,” he says. The words were a welcome relief: “You’ve got a project.”
Dubai, on the other hand, unveiled world’s largest 3D printed two-story building. The building later entered into the Guinness Book of World Records as the first two-storey printed building.
“This project is a major turning point in the construction sector,” said Dawoud Al Hajri, Dubai Municipality director general. “3D printing technologies in construction will increase the speed of execution and [lead to the] completion of buildings in record time.