Though concrete homes—which are far more environmentally friendly, and fire-resistant, than wood-frame houses—have been around for a century, they are definitely in the minority. The last great experiment in mass-scale concrete housing was Thomas Alva Edison's early-1900s invention of a fully-formed house created in one huge pour of Portland Cement. As you can read in this fascinating history, while Edison's process eventually proved to be a success, the houses were D.O.A.—it seems no one wanted to buy a concrete house, because, well, they were concrete houses. (In the subsequent decades, few had problems working in concrete-and-steel office buildings and factories, however.)
If you really want to get into the subject, check out the pro-concrete-industry Concrete Network for all you ever wanted to know about concrete house-building.
Dave has contributed to Dwell since its inception. He's a CalArts dropout, a former art critic for The New Yorker, and a producer of comedies on TV. He lives in, and writes from, Los Angeles.
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