July 26, 2008

[Connecting Bits] Concrete Design

Founded and led by Brent Constanz, a biocement entrepreneur, Calera is in the business of innovating cement. This common material is criticized as a polluting agent in concrete. Constanz’s company has a process of producing cement that’s low-cost and environment-friendly. Calera is highlighted in an article entitled “Rethinking the Material World” in the July/Auguest issue of Dwell magazine. Its primary investor is green venture capitalist Vinod Khosla who’s featured (along with Constanz) in the July/August issue of Fast Company. Now jump back to the June issue of TIME magazine which featured architect Tadao Ando’s latest concrete design, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas. It “calls to mind the delicacy and simplicity of traditional Japanese architecture.” The article’s author Richard Lacayo further expresses that Ando’s “buildings bear the mark of two 20th cetnury Modernists he admires, Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn, who found in concrete an opportunity for blunt majesty and even a kind of lyricism.” In a way, architects are like the material scientists who design on the molecular level.