Building Science

The Innovation Behind the Bautex Block Has Roots in Frank Lloyd Wright Design

The current intelligent and time saving design of the Bautex wall System, which is ahead of its time, has a remarkable resemblance to the past, in the creative thinking process of architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonian Automatic design.

Following the Depression, in an atmosphere of resource shortages and increasing costs and while focusing on the need for low-cost housing for the middle-class, Wright created his Usonian Automatic design. Most of these designs were modular in concept and often laid out on triangle, rectangle and hexagonal grids, and were usually constructed with wood and brick. However, Wright also focused on alternate designs and material combinations. By 1950, he created a building system which included a concrete masonry building system for his Usonian Design.

The foundation of his design was concrete block that was laid up without the use of mortar. This block included both horizontal and vertical semicircular spaces that faced other blocks. Steel reinforcement bar were inserted into these voids, which were then filled with grout.

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The similarity in Wright’s Usonian Automatic system and the innovative Bautex Wall System design is remarkable. Bautex replaces the all-concrete block used by Wright with the patented Bautex Block, which is made from a lightweight composite material that provides more insulation and life safety benefits and meets the latest building codes. Like Wright’s invention, the Bautex Block also includes spaces to insert rebar both vertically and horizontally, which are then filled to form a concrete grid to support floors and roof of one to three story buildings. Another significant update to the original concept, the Bautex Wall System includes a fluid-applied air and moisture barrier on the outside of the wall that provides a tight and extremely energy-efficient building envelope that will meet and even exceed the requirements of most commercial and residential construction projects.

Wright also concluded that "To build a low-cost house you must eliminate, so far as possible, the use of skilled labor, now so expensive." Bautex also follows this thinking. The Bautex Wall System is installed quickly and efficiently by local masonry, concrete or framing contractors, or can be self-performed by general contractors - installing up to twice as fast as traditional wall systems thus reducing the need for additional trades. The similarities between Wright’s Usonian Automatic concrete masonry building system and today’s Bautex Wall System are remarkable. Great minds think alike!

References 1. PUBLICATION #C881028 Copyright © 1988, The Aberdeen Group All rights reserved