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Concrete Blocks: The Latest Architecture and News

Shop ITSU Rio de Janeiro / Terra e Tuma Arquitetos Associados

© Pedro Kok © Pedro Kok © Pedro Kok © Pedro Kok + 15

Río de Janeiro, Brazil

Casa Havaí / Garoa + Chico Barros

© Pedro Napolitano Prata © Pedro Napolitano Prata © Pedro Napolitano Prata © Pedro Napolitano Prata + 66

Sumaré, Brazil
  • Architects: Chico Barros, Garoa
  • Area Area of this architecture project Area: 2045.14 ft²
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year: 2017

The Environmental Cost of Cement, and What to Do About It

For thousands of years, concrete has been a foundation of the built environment: the most widely used man-made material on the planet. However, as architects, and the public alike, sharpen their focus on the causes and effects of climate change, the environmental damage caused by cement has become a subject of unease.

As exhibited in a recent in-depth article by Lucy Rodgers for BBC News, cement is the source of about 8% of global CO2 emissions. The piece was written off the back of the UN’s COP24 climate change conference in Poland and found that in order to meet the requirements of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, annual cement emissions must fall by 16% by 2030.

Concrete Blocks in Architecture: How to Build With This Modular and Low-Cost Material

Concrete blocks are a prefabricated material mainly used to build walls. Like bricks, the blocks are stacked together and joined with a mortar, usually consisting of cement, sand, and water. The blocks are hollow inside to allow for steel bars and mortar filling. 

These blocks come in a variety of dimensions and textures, from traditional smooth surfaces to fluted or rough finishes, as well as special units for corners or for beams with longitudinal reinforcements. The dimensions of these blocks range from the classic 8x8x16 inches (approx 19x19x39 cm) which is meant for structural use, to a size of 8x3.5x39 inches (approx 19x9x39 cm) for partitioning walls. How can we incorporate them creatively into our designs?

Vila Matilde House / Terra e Tuma Arquitetos Associados. Image © Pedro Kok Casa + Estudio / Terra e Tuma Arquitetos Associados. Image © Pedro Kok Silent house / Takao Shiotsuka Atelier. Image © Takao Shiotsuka Atelier Casa entre Bloques / Natura Futura Arquitectura. Image © JAG Studio + 24