Sheikh Youssef Al Shelash on Dar Al Arkan and the Advantages of 3D Construction
The Middle East is flagging the way for the rest of the world to embrace 3D construction printing technology. Sheikh Yousef Al Shelash is the long-standing chairman of Dar Al Arkan, the real estate development company that built the world’s tallest on-site 3D-printed building in Saudi Arabia.
The 3D-printed three-story villa is a record-setting 9.9 meters tall. The abode is created in conjunction with 3D construction printers from COBOD International. The cutting-edge structure is located in the Shams Ar Riyadh project, part of a development spanning 12 million square meters of land northwest of Saudi Arabia’s capital city, Riyadh. It’s also an engineering accomplishment for the Saudi real estate development company, guided by the chairman Sheikh Yousef Al Shelash. It utilized low-cost, locally sourced materials, which cost less than $11,000, to create the 3D printable concrete, and also saved on labor costs.
The development company, founded in 1994, is one of the biggest listed real estate companies in Saudi Arabia. Sheikh Yousef Al Shelash said that he finds it gratifying to show the world another image of Saudi Arabia, which is why he’s focused on making Dar Al Arkan a global brand.
A benefit of 3D printing construction is that the company didn’t need to erect a tent to shield a construction crew from the desert heat. “The production of the cabin without the use of a tent shows the capability of the Dar Al Arkan crew and their capability to handle our world-class technology,” stated Zaid Marmash, COBOD’s head of Middle East and Africa.
Marmash credited the company with “pushing the limitations for the future of construction. Printing with a COBOD 3D construction printer, Dar Al Arkan proves how 3D printing buildings can be both very cost-effective and time-saving at the same time.”
Building a Better Future Through 3D Construction Printing
Only 1% of the 3D construction concrete materials come from a centralized location. “Our efforts are absorbed on developing the Kingdom’s real estate sector by mixing the latest trends and technologies, drawn from worldwide best practices to enhance our industry locally,” stated Wael Al Hagan, the 3D construction printing project manager for Dar Al Arkan. “The introduction of 3D building printing enables us to focus on greater litheness of design, strengthen productivity, and achieve higher cost efficiency.”
The world’s tallest 3D-printed building, created by Dar Al Arkan, has multiple living spaces, a kitchen, and two bathrooms on the first floor. The second floor features three bedrooms, two bathrooms, another living space, and a balcony. The third floor is a smaller roof annex that has a maid’s room with an attached bathroom, a laundry room, and multipurpose space.
Sheikh Yousef Al Shelash: 3D Construction and Communities
The Shams Ar Riyadh is a unique “city within a city” spanning 5 million square meters. It’s the first of its kind in Saudi Arabia. The project from Dar Al Arkan includes world-class amenities, a mosque, a mall, and a promenade. According to the company, “Shams Ar Riyadh is truly a modern and sophisticated community that raises the benchmark for luxury living in the capital.”
Under Al Shelash’s leadership, the premier Saudi Arabia real estate development concern got to work building a second villa in the Shams Ar Riyadh project. It only took eight days to complete the 130-square-meter first floor. “This 3D printed villa has additional insulation layers and features that ensure energy conservation, saving up to 30% in energy consumption,” stated Al Hagan.
Dar Al Arkan has developed many communities over the years, but what makes the Shams Ar Riyadh project so appealing is that the real estate development company “had the option to develop some of the most luxurious villas because of the proximity to the city center,” stated Sheikh Yousef Al Shelash. The businessman believes in the importance of family, and the Shams Ar Riyadh is being developed as an ideal environment for families to flourish.
Al Shelash said, “I grew up with a father who was a real estate investor and believed in real estate investing. My father used to trade land in what was Palestine at that time, in the 1940s.” He stated that the company considers building communities where families can grow to be as important as making money. “I believe in not only fulfilling a commercial target by generating for the shareholders of the company that requires right of return, but also since the company is involved in real estate, it is involved in building cities, communities, and families.”
In addition to the record-breaking 3D printed villa, the Saudi-based real estate development company has created Upside Living Villas with interiors by Versace Homes in Shams Ar Riyadh. It’s the ultimate living space for those looking for extraordinary architecture and modern interiors. Each of the 12 villas features a stunning waterfall. According to the company, “The villas have smart home automation, and every floor-to-ceiling window uncovers panoramic views of Wadi Hanifa [valley]. The Upside Living concept is an exclusive lifestyle only for the elite.”
COBOD International: The Evolution of Construction
The real estate development company partnered with COBOD International because it is a world leader in 3D construction printing solutions. It is the company responsible for 3D printing Europe’s first building in 2017.
The COBOD International construction printers and cutting-edge technology were employed to create the first 3D printed two- and three-story buildings in Germany and Belgium. In addition to Dar Al Arkan, it has partnered with Germany’s PERI Group and General Electric in the United States.
The company, headquartered in Denmark, embraces an open-source material strategy and has aligned with academic institutions, academics, and suppliers worldwide. Its mission is to fabricate smartly, using multifunctional building robots that operate on 3D printing technology. In addition, the company aims to automate at least 50% of a building site’s construction process to develop properties faster, cheaper, and safer.
“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia represents the largest potential market in the Middle East for our disruptive 3D construction technology, and many large-end customers in the Kingdom have been eagerly awaiting that the technology became available via an established local company,” says Henrik Lund-Nielsen, COBOD founder and general manager.
Lund-Nielsen explained that the company partnered with Dar Al Arkan, run by Sheikh Yousef Al Shelash, because it is an important and influential company. “We look forward to working with them and to assisting them with assuring the success of the 3D [computer printing] technology in the Kingdom,” stated Lund-Nielsen.
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