Saturday, July 26, 2014
Quick & inexpensive domed houses made of inflated concrete
What's so impressive about them besides their blinding fast construction speeds and cheap price tag?
They are also very "green" environmentally speaking, and in my opinion beautiful.
I also find Binishells intent to use the technology to help the poor and those who have been misplaced by natural disasters and other more malevolent reasons very heart warming.
I know at first glance of this picture it looks like a toy play set or a hollywood movie shoot location, but this is real.
Above is a better look at what the house looks like in reality. (You can click on these images to enlarge them).
Here's what Joseph Flaherty of Wired.com had to say about the humanitarian side of Binishells:
""Called "Binishells," each building starts as a two-dimensional shape on the ground, ringed by a wooden form into which an air bladder, reinforcing steel rebar, and a load of concrete is placed. As the concrete sets, an air pump fills the bladder and a concrete dome begins to rise from the Earth." -NICOLÓ BINI
Covering a balloon with papier-mâché, letting it harden, and popping it to leave behind a delicate empty shell is a grade school arts and crafts tradition. For architect Nicoló Bini it’s a technique that’s become a guiding obsession, and which he believes could transform architecture in the developing world. His “Binishells” combine concrete and heavy-duty balloons to create visually stunning, structurally sound, domed domiciles.
Each Binishell starts as a two-dimensional shape on the ground, ringed by a wooden form into which an air bladder, reinforcing steel rebar, and a load of concrete is placed. As the concrete sets, an air pump fills the bladder and a concrete dome begins to rise from the Earth. An hour later, the concrete has hardened, the bladder is deflated, removed for reuse, and the building’s soaring shell is ready for inspection and interior construction. The concept is bizarre, combining a building material from the time of Julius Caesar with a Jetsons aesthetic, but the approach has already worked before.
Binishells were pioneered by Dr. Dante Bini, Nicoló’s father, and the first Binishell, which popped up in 1964, is still standing. All told, over 1,600 Binishells have been built in 23 countries across the globe, including gymnasium-sized shells 120 feet in diameter and tiny bubble-shaped bungalows in the developing world. “Binishells have survived even extreme environments—such as the lava, ash and constant earthquakes on Mount Etna—for almost 50 years,” says Nicoló. The younger Bini is reviving the technique as a way to provide low-cost housing for refugees and displaced people, but believes Binishells could be used and to fabricate schools, military bases, sports stadiums and generally provide architects with a cost-effective way to explore convex construction.
Unlike traditional low-cost, temporary disaster relief shelters, Binishells are intended to be permanent fixtures. The technique is speedy and, according to Bini, costs start at just $3,500. A cluster of Binishells might look like a sci-fi film set, but the materials to build one could be found on any job site. “Aside from some special additives, our concrete mix can be sourced locally almost anywhere,” says Bini. “Similarly our reinforcement is the same rebar you find sitting on the shelf of supply stores around the world.”
Binishells could be a compelling alternative to current disaster relief housing which is usually intended to be temporary, often end up as shanty ghettos. Concrete fabrication makes passive solar heating an easy option, reducing drain on strained infrastructure. The domed shape is naturally aerodynamic providing some protection from hurricanes. A gentle curvature and low roof height allow green roofs to be planted and easily tended. “With 25% of the world’s population living in sub-standard shelters, this is where we feel we can have the most impact,” says Nicoló."
Personally I would love one of those small homes. I have always wanted a small "cozy" home, and I love the open feeling of the bench in the front and an option for a grass roof.
I'd love a blue one.
But Binishells does more than just these types of structures.
Here's some pictures from their website, http://www.binishells.com/:
I personally believe this is a brilliant idea. And using these natural bubble type shapes and concrete brings many great structural values as well.
For more information, check out http://www.binishells.com/.
Posted by Dennis Gutowski