Low-Carbon Concrete Construction: The Past, Present, and Future of Concrete Design in India

Oct 02, 2020

Steel-reinforced concrete frames dominate the skylines of Less Economically Developed Countries (LEDCs) like India. The mounting use of concrete in India has garnered concern for the ecological impacts of construction. This suggests an opportunity to reduce the carbon emissions associated with concrete construction through efficient concrete construction, building more with less. India has a rich history of efficient concrete architecture that utilized material efficiency when material costs constrained the cost of construction. In response to the demand for materially efficient concrete construction, this paper looks back at the work of novel designers in India and presents a potential application of their ideas to future urban construction in both India and beyond. The scope of this paper is the use of reinforced concrete as a structural material from the early 20th century up until today. Several key structures and designers will be highlighted for their contributions to concrete architecture’s history before concluding with a proposal for the future of concrete design in LEDC cities. Applying an understanding of concrete mechanics and digital structural design, this research explores structural systems suited to the constraints of Indian construction.

Keywords: Structural Optimization, Concrete Structures, Developing Economies, Embodied Carbon, Urban Residential Construction

Mohamed A. Ismail (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Caitlin T. Mueller (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Presented at: 
2020 AIA/ACSA Intersections Research Conference: CARBON
Published & professionally reviewed by: 
The American Institute of Architects (AIA)
Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA)

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