Natural cement as a material for mouldings

The history of concrete, and even 19th century cements, is that of a rediscovery of materials, evolving know-how and architectural transition from craftsmanship to industry. It tells of the discovery of a swathe of forgotten architectural history that we can now use to create new forms.

Indeed, Prompt natural cements, the first cements discovered at the beginning of the 19th century, were mostly produced in Europe until the First World War. They were used as additives to limes, and then as binders to make mouldings in the stucco style, and finally to manufacture imitation stone.

They brought distinction to the world of cement. They permitted concretes to demonstrate their architectonic capability.

1830–1910 was a period of transition between conventional construction using cut stone and the modern technical design and aesthetics of reinforced concrete. Regions such as the Alps, and particularly Isère and Grenoble, were major contributors because of the quantity and quality of Prompt natural cement constructions that are still standing and that are now being refurbished. Cement manufacturers still produce cement on occasion with which to restore those buildings, but are also developing new products to be used in new forms of architecture.

Cédric Avenier 
PhD in history of art and architecture 
Architecture workshop