Doctoral Project
Opération Béton: Constructing Concrete in Switzerland 1871–1972

Doctoral Project
Sarah Nichols
Prof. Dr. Laurent Stalder
Since 2015
 



From mortar to block to solid to liquid, concrete has been designed to become a material without limit. By studying approximately a century of cement and concrete in Switzerland from the introduction of Portland cement in the mid-nineteenth century to the 1973 Oil Crisis, this project examines the relations between institutions, discourse and material development as they intersect in concrete. Through this periodisation, the establishment of key institutions around the turn of the century is shown to have layed the groundwork for the post-war period when concrete became ubiquitous. Over the course of this period, the project shows how concrete – organisationally, technically and conceptually – broke with the notion of scarcity.

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Sarah Nichols