Cinderblocks are the lego brick of informal urban space. They empower anyone to build shelter.
- They are cheap.
- They let you build incrementally. Cinderblocks are freestanding and structural, so you can leave parts of a building unfinished, adding rooms as needed.
- They don’t require capital. You can purchase them as you go.
- You don’t need an architect to build with Cinderblocks.
- They are deadly during earthquakes.
- Cinderblocks reflect a lot of noise.
- They are ugly.
Cinderblocks are made from cast concrete, (Portland cement and aggregate). Usually sand and fine gravel for high-density blocks. Low-density blocks often use industrial wastes as an aggregate. Lightweight blocks can be produced using aerated concrete.
- They are easy to make.
- All you need is a mold.
- They allow you to sell a waste product.
- Concrete is universal.
Ideas and Possibilities
Can we build a better cinderblock? To improve on the current design, some desirable properties:
- Easy to manufacture (re-using waste if possible)
- Buy as you go
- Build as you go — structural, stackable
- Earthquake resistant
- Fire resistant
- Hollow, light
- Heat/cold insulating
- Noise insulating
- Biodegradable over long periods
Can we re-think the process?
- Could we 3D print it?
- Can we get rid of the need for morter with a slots/connector geometry?
- Can we make them lighter and easier to transport to your home?
- Scaling down: what designing a [[better tarp]]?
- Scaling up: better slab building construction for 3-6 stories.
Could one make something like Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete using mud, recycled plastics or other readily available materials?
Existing Tools, Prior Art, Inspiration
- Earthquake-resistant masonry walls using a mortarless construction system
- Ubuntublox — building haybale homes from plastic and agro waste.
- Strawbale Construction
- Ferrock Ferrock is a new cement that uses waste steel dust. It’s stronger than conventional cement and absorbs CO2.
- Kickstarter for a compressed earth brick press. Part of the Global Village Construction Set.
- Inexpensive Quake-Proof Houses (paper)
- Knotty Objects: Brick from MIT Media Lab.