Bye Bye Concrete, Hello Plastic


  • Whereas the modernists were lyrical about the possibilities of using concrete as a new material for buildings, back in 1920, I now feel a comparable enthusiasm for sustainable plastic. Affresol, a Welsh company, has designed what could be the ‘house of the future’. The firm developed a material called Thermo Poly Rock (TPR) from recycled plastics and minerals, which can be used as a structural building product. With this material they are able to build pre-fab modular low carbon houses for the world market.

    Comparable to the initial argument of the modernists, one of the main advantages of this new fabrication method is its price. According to a BBC video it will cost only 40,000 British Pounds to produce a flexible one-family house like this one. Interesting here is the question whether people in the future want to live in a plastic house — a question which never has been thoroughly put forward at one of modernist CIAM conferences in 1928. Nevertheless, I think people will, in the end. One of the main reasons for this preoccupation is the fact that the designers have done everything to approach complete dullness in their architecture, which generally is what people expect a house to be. As long as the neighbors do not see you’re living in a plastic house it’ll be okay for most of us.

    The material is said to be stronger and more sustainable compared to concrete. And, above all ,the house can be built in approximately four days, which implies giant flexibility. Altogether it brings a lot of advantages here that might change the future of building forever. Therefore I propose to organize a conference to rethink architecture: CIAM Plastic Edition.