The company Matter Design, a design practice and a research lab, has come out wit an innovative way to produce masonry building blocks that can be moved by hand by a single person. This doesn’t sound impressive until you find out these blocks weigh 25 tonnes. The product known as ‘Walking Assembly’ re-introduces the potentials of that ancient knowledge to better inform the transportation and assembly of future architectures.
“If a brick is designed for a single hand, and a concrete masonry unit (CMU) is designed for two, these massive masonry units (MMU) unshackle the dependency between size and the human body. Intelligence of transportation and assembly is designed into the elements themselves, liberating humans to guide these colossal concrete elements into place. Structures that would otherwise rely on cranes or heavy equipment can now be intelligently assembled and disassembled with little energy. By using variable density concrete, the center of mass of the object is calibrated precisely to control the stable, but easy motion of the elements. This ensures that these massive elements successfully walk and assemble into place, creating the possibility for a crane-less tilt up construction method and turning our building sites into spectacles of play,” says Matter Design.
For this project, Matter Design worked in collaboration with CEMEX, a Mexican multinational building material company. Together, they produce blocks that cannot be lifted by a single human but can be walked by one. They can also be tilted, pivoted, and locked into place to make a stable structure thanks to their precise design. Further, the ability to assemble and carry these blocks by hand makes them useful in locations where trucks and cranes cannot go or where they would be too expensive. So, pyramids can be rebuilt now with this new product!