Just Add Water: Concrete Buildings Built With Air + H2O



An inflatable concrete building sounds a bit ludicrous – until you see the seemingly-magical construction of a Concrete Canvas shelter. Concrete Canvas, a UK company, has created shelters that combine a less durable material – canvas – with one of the most durable materials of all – concrete.

The canvas is impregnated with concrete but remains flexible as the shelter is deployed to its location. Once there, the shelter is unfolded and inflated with a fan. The fully-inflated building is sprayed with water to activate and harden the concrete hiding within the fibers of the canvas.

Within 12 to 24 hours, the structure is cured and ready to use. After the concrete hardens, it is resistant to fire, water and the elements. In a dangerous location, such as a war zone, the structure can be surrounded and covered with dirt to further protect it and its inhabitants from harm. With or without extra fortification, the buildings can be expected to last for around ten years.

Although the obvious application for a rapidly-deployable, super-tough structure like this would be for military operations, there are hundreds of other cases in which a Concrete Canvas building could be incredibly useful. Disaster relief operations could quickly create temporary homes for displaced families after a disaster with little more than delivery equipment, a fan and a water hose.

According to the manufacturer, Concrete Canvas shelters can be thought of as “inflatable concrete buildings.” A typical building can be built by two people in under an hour without any specialized training – something that most other emergency shelters couldn’t even begin to compare with. The shelters aren’t yet available for consumer use, but just imagine the possibilities of buying your own piece of land, throwing up a concrete structure and living in one of these surprisingly roomy, civilized-looking buildings.

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