When it comes to moving 25 tons of stone, the first option that comes to my mind is probably heavy machinery. But, if we consider gigantic monuments like the Moai on Easter Island, it has certainly been necessary to find a way for the ancient peoples to be able to transport such heavy materials without the use of machines. Cambridge-based Matter Design has come closer to understanding this technical feat through its research into "weightless" concrete forms. They worked with research and development at CEMEX, a building materials company, and created a way to move rocks that would typically require cranes or other equipment to be lifted.
The project, called Walking assembly, has been documented in a fascinating video. Medium-sized people move the large, concrete forms of individual pieces into a single group. The stones have rounded edges (allowing tilting and tilting to the front and back) as well as angular elements that allow the pieces to be assembled as puzzles. In addition, giant stakes are inserted into stone sections that provide better control of movement. When they are all together, the rooms become platforms, walls and whole staircases.
So, how is it possible to move these giant pieces? The team is focused on density in order to make the task achievable. "By using variable density concrete," says Matter Design, "the center of gravity of the object is precisely calibrated to control the stable but easy movement of the elements."
Research has great potential applications in the outside world, especially in hard-to-reach areas with machines. It might be easier to assemble structures without the use of heavy machinery and to adopt a modular approach to build them. In this way, if something were to be repaired, the whole thing would not need to be demolished, but simply redesigned.
Matter Design and CEMEX collaborated Walking assembly, a research project that allowed ordinary citizens to try to move heavy stones.
By using variable density concrete, the massive shapes – 25 tons in total – could easily be balanced and rolled into a single unit.
Learn more about the project in this fascinating video.
Matter Design: Website
h / t: [designboom]
All images via Matter Design.
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