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.


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