A house construction system using ‘inflatable concrete’ has been developed as a potential low cost solution for developing countries.
The Binishell system creates buildings by pumping wet concrete onto an inflatable dome, reinforced with steel. Once the concrete has set – which takes about an hour – the inflatable dome can be deflated.
The Binishell approach actually dates back to the mid-1960s, when Dr Dante Bini came up with the concept. Since then, about 1600 of the domed structures have been put up in 23 countries, some as big as gymnasia, others as small as cabins.
The concept has been updated by the architect’s son Nicolo Bini as concrete Binishell dome homes adding a pleasant aesthetic quality to the material. He is repositioning inflatable concrete as a cheap, modern building solution for many parts of the world.
The domes cost about $3,500 to create, and testing has shown that they can withstand very harsh climates.
“Utilizing locally sourced materials and labour, Binishells help to build up the local economy while building up the local infrastructure,” he claims.
“With 25 per cent of the world’s population living in sub-standard shelters, this is where we feel we can have the most impact,” says the developer.
Indeed, they’re designed to be permanent, unlike most quickly built disaster-relief constructions, such as the Ikea Foundation’s flat-packed shelters.