Using a technique similar to covering a balloon with papier-mâché, architect Nicoló Bini creates structurally sound Binishell homes from inflatable concrete.
The convex construction process starts with a wooden frame, inside of which a heavy-duty air bladder and reinforcing steel rebar is inserted.
A load of concrete is poured over the structure and as it sets an air pump is used to fill the bladder beneath.
After the bladder is completely inflated and the concrete has hardened, the balloon is let down and removed for reuse, leaving the domed-shaped structure ready for interior construction.
The Binishell concept was originally pioneered by Nicoló’s father back in 1964, and according to Nicoló, over 1,600 of the structures have been built across the globe, including gymnasium-sized shells and tiny bungalows in the developing world.
Nicoló is looking to revive the technique as a way to provide low-cost housing for refugees, but believes Binishells could be used to fabricate schools, military bases and sports stadiums, with construction costs starting at as little as $3,500.