Concrete Houses 1919 and 2007

Posted on January 15, 2007  Comments (6)

Concrete Edison House

Robo-builder threatens the brickie [the broken link was removed]

Is the writing on the wall for the brickie? Engineers are racing to unveil the world’s first robot capable of building a house at the touch of a button. The first prototype — a watertight shell of a two-storey house built in 24 hours without a single builder on site — will be erected in California before April.

Brickie?: a search seems to indicate that is a bricklayer.

By building almost an entire house from just two materials – concrete and gypsum – the robots will eliminate the need for dozens of traditional components, including floorboards, wooden window frames and possibly even wallpaper. It may eventually be possible to use specially treated gypsum instead of glass window panes. Engineers on both projects say the robots will not only cut costs and avoid human delays but liberate the normal family homes from the conventional designs of pitched roofs, right-angled walls and rectangular windows.

Edison patented a process for constructing concrete buildings in 1908 (1917 issued). Photo is of a concrete Edison house being constructed in one day in Union, NJ on October 9th, 1919. See more photos of concrete houses and much more at the great National Park Service Edison photo gallery [sadly the NPA broke the link and it has been removed].

Related: Thomas Edison’s Remaining Concrete HouseEdison Patent ListGoogle Patent SearchUW- Madison Wins 4th Concrete Canoe CompetitionLight transmitting concrete

More from the article:

Inspired by the inkjet printer, the technology goes far beyond the techniques already used for prefabricated homes. “This will remove all the limitations of traditional building,” said Hugh Whitehead of the architecture firm Foster & Partners, which designed the “Gherkin” skyscraper in London and is producing designs for the Loughborough team. “Anything you can dream you can build.”

The robots are rigged to a metal frame, enabling them to shuttle in three dimensions and assemble the structure of the house layer by layer. The sole foreman on site operates a computer programmed with the designer’s plans. The researchers in Los Angeles claim their robot will be able to build the shell of a house in 24 hours. “Compared to a conventional house, the speed of construction will be increased 200-fold and the building costs will be reduced to a fifth of what they are today,” said Khoshnevis.

The rival British system is likely to take at least a week but will include more sophisticated design features, with the computer’s nozzle weaving in ducts for water pipes, electrical wiring and ventilation within the panels of gypsum or concrete.

6 Responses to “Concrete Houses 1919 and 2007”

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