ETH Zurich's Department of Architecture has recently developed a model for concrete floor slabs that takes inspiration from a very different architectural style. The university's concrete floor slabs are designed with a nod to the construction of Catalonian vaults built during the Gothic period, centuries before the invention of concrete itself.
Though Gothic architects used stone as opposed to the relatively stronger and less expensive concrete used in most modern buildings, the structural engineering that went into those Renaissance stone designs holds up over time. The concrete used in many modern buildings is reinforced with concrete, but with ETH Zurich's Gothic design, the concrete floor slabs can support major loads without any reinforcement. Further, the airy slabs are 70 percent lighter than typical concrete slabs or blocks.