concrete canvas
 
concrete canvas concrete canvas
sep 30, 2008

concrete canvas

peter brewin and will crawford with a 14 1/8 th scale model of the CCO1 shelter.

peter brewin and will crawfordCCO1 is an multi award winning project that will revolutionise the work of aid agencies and troops that help save lives in emergency situations. with over 35 million refugees worldwide, concrete canvas – ‘the building in a bag’ – will provide quick accommodation, field offices and medical clinics that give much bette protection in extreme climatic conditions, better security against looting and enable otherwise impossible medical procedures. unlike current solutions (soft-skinned tents), which offer inadequate protection, or are expensive and difficult to transport, concrete canvas is a rapidly deployable hardened shelter that requires only water and air for construction. it can be deployed by a person without any training in under 40 minutes and is ready to use within 2 hours. plus, with a design life of over 10 years, (tents only survive for 2 years) concrete canvas is a solution that saves effort and costs over the lifetime of medium to long term operations.

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    concrete canvas concrete canvas
    jun 05, 2005

    concrete canvas

    peter brewin and will crawford

    CCO1 is an multi award winning project that will revolutionise the work of aid agencies and troops that help save lives in emergency situations. with over 35 million refugees worldwide, concrete canvas – ‘the building in a bag’ – will provide quick accommodation, field offices and medical clinics that give much bette protection in extreme climatic conditions, better security against looting and enable otherwise impossible medical procedures. unlike current solutions (soft- skinned tents), which offer inadequate protection, or are expensive and difficult to transport, concrete canvas is a rapidly deployable hardened shelter that requires only water and air for construction. it can be deployed by a person without any training in under 40 minutes and is ready to use within 2 hours. plus, with a design life of over 10 years, (tents only survive for 2 years) concrete canvas is a solution that saves effort and costs over the lifetime of medium to long term operations.

    how it works

    delivery – CC01 comes delivered folded in a sealed plastic sack. the dry weight is 230kg, an 8 man lift, and light enough to be transported on a pick-up truck or light aircraft. the pack contains a cement impregnated fabric (concrete cloth) bonded to the outer surface of an inflatable plastic inner.

    hydration – the sack is positioned and filled with water. the volume of the sack controls the water : cement ratio eliminating water measurement. the bag is then left for 15 minutes while the cement hydrates, this is aided by the fibre matrix which wicks water into the cement. once hydrated, the sack is cut along its seams it then forms part of the ground sheet. deployment is done at dusk to avoid over drying the cement.

    inflation – the key to concrete canvas is the use of inflation to create a surface that is optimised for compressive loading. this allows thin walled concrete structures to be formed which are both robust and lightweight. the structure is unfolded to form the shelter’s footprint. a chemical pack is activated which releases a controlled volume of gas into the plastic inner and inflates the structure. it forms a ‘nissen-hut’ shaped structure with over 16 m² of floor space and the technology can be scaled to provide larger structures.

    setting – the concrete cloth cures in the shape of the inflated inner and twelve hours later the structure is ready to use. doors and ventilation holes are left with no concrete cloth bonded to the plastic skin this allows access points to be easily cut from the inner once the cement has dried.

    once CC01 has fulfilled its primary application as an emergency shelter, another use found for the structure. however, CC0 can be easily demolished using basic tools and the thin walled structure has a very low mass, so leaves little material for disposal.

    a few words from peter and will on the design process…

    what inspired the idea?

    ‘the compressive strength on an egg.’

    ‘we arrived at the concept in an unusual way: normally we would approach a design by first identifying a need and then generating solutions etc. however in this case we came up with the solution in response to a concrete competition ‘to find new uses for cement’. we approached it by thinking of cement purely in terms of its engineering properties to avoid being guided by preconceptions. one of these is excellent compressive performance yet poor tensile behavior. this led us to consider compressive ceramic structures of which an egg shell is an excellent example.

    we prototyped initially using plaster as this is much quicker to work with but is a reasonable approximation as it is also a cracked ceramic. we started with rotationally molding plaster in an inflatable balloon in order to get the egg shell structure. our plaster eggs had excellent strength for plaster but no obvious uses. however, this led us to use inflation as a means of making compressive forms and also introduced us to modrock (this is plaster impregnated cloth used for setting broken bones). from here we came up with the two critical components of concrete canvas – a cement impregnated cloth and inflatable formwork. development of the cloth in particular has required a very large number of iterations. so in our case we started with a raw material and ended up with a concept before we had a need.

    another critical step was the field research in uganda, we did this over the summer of our first year and managed to fund the trip from a combination of winning the BSI design travel award and sponsorship. at this stage we had fairly crude prototypes, but were having great trouble as students getting access to personnel from aid agencies in order to assess their requirements and whether there really was a need. uganda was incredibly useful as being on the ground we were able to meet people and set up meetings with 22 UN agencies and NGO’s operating there. we were also able to see first hand how camps etc operate which is vital for designing a product for use in scenarios outside our day to day experience.’

    and challenges

    ‘among the most difficult challenges we have faced have been learning, mainly by experience, how to set up a business and raise the development funds we require. we have found that this is very similar to designing in that it is also about recognising problems and innovating to solve them.’

    what are your hopes for the future of this project?

    ‘that the shelters will become widespread as a tool for aid agencies to assist in their work, the shelters will ultimately find other uses from the military to the civil sector and that the concrete cloth will find uses in civil engineering applications beyond the shelter.’

    what type of design do you look up to?

    ‘buckminster fuller, he had amazing ideas and a combination of understanding the physics and the human needs.’

    what is your daily routine?

    ‘when starting up a company there is very little routine as there are so many diverse tasks, we have to be very flexible – one of the reasons its fun.’

    do you have a motto?

    ‘no, but we’re considering getting a factory dog!’

    peter and will are both engineering graduates (peter studied at cambridge and will at bristol and berkeley california) who met a the royal college of art in london, UK. since then they have formed ‘crawfordbrewin ltd.’ and are currently seeking funding to continue the development of the CCO1.

    http://www.concretecanvas.org.uk

    concrete canvas has won 11 awards including the saatchi and saatchi award for world changing ideas. http://www.saatchi.com/innovation

    peter brewin and will crawford with a 14 1/8 th scale model of the CCO1 shelter.

    14 1/8 th scale model of the CCO1 kit and standing shelter.

    14 1/8 th scale of the concrete canvas pack.

     

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