La rivelazione di Matt Burgermaster (New Jersey Institute of Technology, USA), è stata illustrata in occasione del congresso annuale "American Society of Architectural Historians", "Edison's 'Single-Pour System: Inventing Seamless Architecture". Thomas Edison inventò e brevettò nel 1917 un innovativo sistema di costruzione per la produzione industriale di case di cemento.
Architecture Assistant Professor Presents Research on the House Designs of Thomas Edison
(New Jersey’s science and technology university, May 24 2011)
Edison's ‘Single-Pour System': Inventing Seamless Architecture
New Jersey Institute of Technology, USA
Abstract. This paper will analyze Thomas Edison's invention of a ‘single-pour system' for concrete construction as a novel application of this material's dynamic behavior and speculate on its role in the development of a type of integrated building anatomy that, perhaps inadvertently, also invented the idea of a seamless architecture.
Originally motivated by the objective of providing a cost-effective prototype for the working class home, this early experiment in mass-production was one of Modernism's first attempts to construct a building with a single material.
Edison's 1919 patent proposed a building-sized mold that leveraged the intrinsically dynamic capacity of concrete to form itself into a variety of shapes and sizes, limited only by the design of its formwork.
The invention's potential efficiencies resided in the distribution of this material as a continuous flow through an entire building instead of being confined to the prefabrication of its constituent parts. By physically integrating all interior and exterior building components and their associated functions of structure, enclosure, and infrastructure within a single, monolithic concrete cast, all aspects of assembly were eliminated. It was a whole without any parts; a building without joints.
This radical proposition - a seamless architecture - was built by Edison before it was conceptualized by the European avant-garde with whom it later became associated. While they imagined concrete as a material without a history or author - one well-suited to industrialized modes of production - and aestheticized such autonomy and anonymity as a material ‘truth', Edison's ‘single-pour system' matter-of-factly proposed an alternative causal relationship between material and form. Its physical seamlessness was not a representation of architecture as an idealized, machine-made object, but was an effect of actual material behavior. As such, this technological invention not only delivered an innovative construction method, but also an alternative way of thinking about material itself.