Le béton, histoire d'un matériau
Was reinforced concrete discovered or invented? In other words, what did we know about this technique before it took the name of material? And even before being "armed", what did this kind of thick, shapeless mud represent for builders or architects, only good for solidifying the mass of walls or foundations? Concrete today concentrates on it a lot of hatred (for the man in the street), but also a lot of love (among architects). This emotional divorce should not mask the complex and deeply rooted process in history which led to its fantastic development, to the point of making it the most used material in the world for construction for fifty years. This is the object of this book: to explore the origins, to undertake the genesis of a technique which is today perfectly commonplace, but which will have taken almost two centuries to form. It is not, of course, in view of the history of architecture. But that's a lot for what we actually remember: an economical, flexible and quite ugly material. There is, however, material, so to speak, to question the builder and the building. The "stone paste" that some architects of the 17th century dreamed of seems to have definitely got the better of the trade corporations against which it had to fight. Metal has certainly come to eclipse spectacularly the kind of secret struggle between the building trades and the builders and architects have been slow to understand what the appearance of a new material could mean for their art. By re-reading the extraordinary adventure of concrete, we can reconstruct the complex web of ideas, experiences, refusals and hopes that the development of this material has aroused since we decided to imitate the Pierre.