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technical & practice

One more development that could revolutionise the speed with which structures are erected is Concrete Canvas, conceived by William Crawford and Peter Brewing, industrial design engineering students at the Royal College of Art.

Just add water to their 'building in a bag' - essentially a plastic sack of cementimpregnated fabric weighing less than 250kg - inflate with air to give the thing its shape and hey presto! Twelve hours later you have a 16m 2, hardened emergency structure that one unskilled person can deploy in under 40 minutes.

The structure is easily sterilisable, making it ideal for field hospitals. UN agencies and Médecins Sans Frontières have expressed keen interest. Crawford and Brewin have applied for a patent, and their concept has won numerous awards.

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