Dubai has set out plans to build the world's first fully functional 3D-printed mosque, in what promises to be a marvel of technology.
The project, announced in January, marks the latest step in Dubai’s 3D Printing Strategy, which aims to position the UAE and Dubai as a hub for 3D printing by 2030.
By then, one in four buildings in the emirate will be constructed using the innovative method, it is claimed.
Here, The National explains what is involved in building the modern structure.
How big will it be?
The mosque in Bur Dubai will be 2,000 square metres and accommodate 600 worshippers.
This area of the old town, located close to the creek and original port that started the Dubai story, is one of the city's most heavily populated areas.
What's involved in building a 3D mosque?
Three workers will operate the 3D robotic printer which will print two square metres an hour.
The printer will mix raw materials and a special mix of concrete.
The printing process works by layering a fluid material along a predetermined route mapped out by a computer, similar to an inkjet printer.
The mineral-infused fluids solidify into concrete almost instantly to convert the digital model into a three-dimensional object.
Dubai's Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department said the cost is 30 per cent higher than building the mosque in the normal way. However, using 3D printing will reduce construction material waste.
In August 2021, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, issued a decree to regulate the use of 3D printing in the construction industry in Dubai, to promote the emirate as a regional and global centre for the technology.
The legislation was aimed at ensuring that a quarter of the emirate's buildings are built using the technology by 2030.
Expo 2020 Dubai had a specialised 3D-printing area which included a research centre, an academy and laboratories to help to develop the technology.
When will it open?
ICAD said work will start in October this year. It will take about four months to complete the 3D printing of the building's structure and a further 12 months to fully fit it out with the appropriate facilities.
The mosque is expected to open in early 2025.