Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Artificial caves
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Water rich in calcium carbonate forms stalactites, stalagmites and ultimately pillars in caves due to gradual crystallisation of the solute. Most conventional methods of construction involve moving massive blocks of stone, brick or composite minerals around. The process whereby pillars form in caves could also be used in building. A relatively lightweight but sufficiently strong frame of the appropriate form could be doused constantly in water which is a saturated solution of calcium carbonate or other appropriate mineral, and gradually a "natural" building would form in one piece. The process could be accelerated by the use of heat and dehumidification to increase the rate of evapouration, and perhaps also by catalysts on the framework. After the building is complete, the framework could be removed, leaving a cave-like construction, with appropriate gaps for windows, doors and conduits, which would be stronger than a structure made from bricks or otherwise built from smaller components, which would also look like something designed by Gaudi. This could then be painted with a waterproof substance which slowed further action by the elements that would otherwise dissolve the building.
nineteenthly, Aug 20 2005

Lime House http://www.limehous...taurant-york.co.uk/
[normzone, Aug 21 2005]

Lime House http://www.beachren...s/thm_ndsc01393.jpg
The landscaping is notably shy of citrus fruits of any species, but the homeowners are nonetheless very proud of their choice of color. [jurist, Aug 21 2005, last modified Aug 22 2005]

Mad. Just mad http://www.tdrinc.com/edises.html
Googled spray-on concrete, and found a bunch of nutters. [moomintroll, Aug 21 2005]

CO2-negative cements? http://www.theconcr...t/future-cement-1_o
[briancady413, Nov 25 2016]

Mg-based Aircrete Cement/Foam Insulation http://www.airkrete.com
[briancady413, Nov 25 2016]


       (+) Accelerated to what extent?
How long would a single pillar, oh say twenty feet tall and two feet round at its center take to make?

       I wouldn't be surprised if it did take a very long time to produce a building this way, but in that case it could be seen as a project somewhat like the Clock of the Long Now - something to which people could commit themselves over generations, to get away from the idea of ephemeral and disposable artefacts that may cause their descendants problems.
Thinking about Limehouse Station itself, although i don't think it's underground, would it not be appropriate for Tube stations to be like caverns? Moreover, an entire subway system could be like an unusually regular series of caves.
nineteenthly, Aug 21 2005

       Good things come to those who wait. [+]
wagster, Aug 21 2005

       Why not just use spray-on concrete? +
moomintroll, Aug 21 2005

       I had a similar idea for building a framework on the ceiling of an existing cave to direct the droplets. Q: How long will your method take? A: Way less time than mine.
Shz, Aug 22 2005

       [moomintroll], i can't even make out what that building is. It looks like a pile of shrapnel or something. Very weird stuff.
The limescale in the area i come from is a sort of faint blue colour, but the stuff here is a dirty brown. I imagine buildings could be made in different colours or perhaps streaked, as if they were drenched in paint, so they could be lime coloured, maybe with verdigris.
[Shz], i think in a way it's a shame that it doesn't take longer than it would. I moved into a house that had been empty for several years once, and there was a fairly thick deposit of limescale in the bath and a stalactite around a centimetre long on an overflow pipe, so it would take a long time left to normal environmental conditions.
The house could conceivably be made of something very soluble, like sea salt.
nineteenthly, Aug 22 2005

       I have seen stalagtites starting to form under concrete which was only about 10 years old. I think that this process could be greatly accelerated but improving the ability of the water to carry dissolved carbonate minerals - hotter, more acidic water should do it.
bungston, Aug 22 2005

       I expect acidifying the water would help, but the choice of which acid to use would be important for environmental reasons. Maybe oxalic acid?
nineteenthly, Aug 22 2005

       Carbonic acid! We want carbonates, right?
bungston, Aug 22 2005

       Bungston: Brilliant! supercritical CO2/soda water sprays out of noozle of house-scale 3D printer with laser-printer-esque electrostatic Magnesium/Calcium/etc. oxide powder deposition to form Mandelbrot Floorplan Cafe.
briancady413, Nov 25 2016


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