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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Future Concrete

posted by on August 20 at 11:37 AM

The future of the greatest of all man-made stuff, concrete, is this:

Experts from the University of Twente developed and tested the concrete paving stones which contain a titanium dioxide-based additive.

In laboratory conditions, the additive — under the influence of sunlight — binds the nitrogen oxide particles emitted by car exhausts and turns them into harmless nitrates.

“With one rain shower everything is washed clean,” the institution said in a statement.

Nitrogen oxides, produced by industry and motor vehicles, are among the main air pollutants that lead to acid rain and smog.

Apart for their ability to clean the air and repel dirt from the road surface, there was no other difference between these new bricks and the old ones, the university said.

Concrete must save the day.

As for the incredible image, an image of the only possible paradise:

This is a ho(s?)tel in Austria, designed by art college graduate Andreas Strauss. Organized into clusters of threes, they nestle in green fields beside the Danube River. Facilities like shower, bar and cafeteria are in a central location. The hotel currently works on an honor system - you leave behind however much you think is fair for the duration of your stay.
These concrete shelters would complete Freeway Park.

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Garbage masquerading as art or in this case architecture.

No, this form of structure will not sweep the earth. It will not be used by millions. It is made and talked about merely to demonstrate the faux aesthetic "taste" of the culturally "superior" commenter/critic.

The more uglly the better, the more shocking, the more avant garde blah blah blah. The real product is the display of cultural superiority, not housing.

Posted by PC | August 20, 2008 11:35 AM

Nitrates that would be washed away into storm drains, I presume.

Aren't nitrates fertilizer? Isn't fertilizer run-off one of the largest, if not the largest contributor to offshore dead zones?

Posted by NapoleonXIV | August 20, 2008 11:38 AM

Where are we gonna get all the potash?

You seen the spec price on that?

Nitrates kill salmonids, fwiw.

Posted by Will in Seattle | August 20, 2008 11:51 AM

@2, the run-off could feasibly be diverted to useful purposes such as fertilizing fields or growing alage for biofuels.

Anyhoo, the whole thing smacks of polishing a turd. The production of concrete is one of the greatest contributors to global CO2 emissions.

Posted by boyd main | August 20, 2008 11:52 AM

more like completely finish freeway park off. the homeless & the mentally ill aren't a cultural asset.

Posted by max solomon | August 20, 2008 12:11 PM

Earthships built with slave labor are the way of the future.

Posted by Ed | August 20, 2008 12:16 PM

Earthships built with slave labor are the way of the future.

Posted by Ed | August 20, 2008 12:18 PM

Those concrete bedrooms look as if they would be very hot and stuffy. Why not use recycled wood and plastic for the same purpose?

Posted by inkweary | August 20, 2008 12:22 PM

Multiple posts will be a thing of the past.

Posted by Ed | August 20, 2008 12:23 PM

Turn the million dollar toilets into hostels.

Posted by elswinger | August 20, 2008 12:35 PM

Those hostels are just asking to be rolled in the middle of the night by a burly band of trouble makers.

Posted by ytuba | August 20, 2008 12:42 PM

Dear Charles Mudede,

Girl, you crazy.

Posted by Bobo | August 20, 2008 12:45 PM

I regret I have but one built structure to give for my soon to be invaded by Canada country.

Posted by Will in Seattle | August 20, 2008 12:51 PM

*the additive under the influence of sunlight binds ...* - so it would be of little use in the Pacific NW.

Posted by kinaidos | August 20, 2008 1:24 PM

Carbonate, typically extracted from the earth to make the cement (used in concrete) can be made through flowing waste CO2 from natural gas power plants through water. Essentially, they've turned cement production carbon-negative.

They're already setting this up in California, and they're going to probably ramp it up as civil engineering folks trust the new stuff is as good as the old.

Posted by Mr. Joshua | August 20, 2008 2:09 PM

Hobbit holes above ground...

Posted by Sargon Bighorn | August 20, 2008 2:33 PM

1. Nitrates are not something we want more of in our runoff. Nitrates --> algae blooms --> dead zones. Oh, and also blue baby syndrome.

2. Are those Ikea lamps?

Posted by Greg | August 20, 2008 3:49 PM

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