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:

  • Cheap
  • 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