Take the Concrete Canvas, add air and water, wait twelve hours, and you have a portable building that offers more structural stability than a tent at half the cost of existing portable buildings. Creators William Crawford and Peter Brewin developed Concrete Canvas as an entry for the 2004 British Cement Association competition. While the idea only took second place in the competition, Concrete Canvas has already won three other awards including the British Standard Institute Sustainable Design Award. Applications of the Concrete Canvas include aid to the agencies in emergency situations requiring accommodations, field offices, and medical clinics. Current solutions offer inadequate protection and only last an average of three years. Concrete Canvas proves to be far more durable, designed to last a minimum of ten years can be delivered in and erected at the site creating a sterile environment, that’s more secure than the usual tent. Finally, added insulation can be gained by covering it in earth or snow.
Apparently this isn’t the first use of inflatable building materials. Reader Barry Turner writes:
In 1964 Dante N Bini built the first hemispherical thin shell structure by pneumatically and automatically lifting all the necessary construction materials, which were distributed horizontally over a pneumatic form anchored to a circular ring beam, from ground level into an hemispherical dome. After the initial ground preparation was finished, that concrete thin shell structure was built in 60 minutes.