Major breakthroughs in building methods don’t come around very often. Some world-changing examples include the Great Pyramids of Giza, France’s Pont Du Gard aqueduct, Le Corbusier’s floating-slab design, and the Hoover Dam.

Through centuries of design innovation, concrete has been a stalwart material for human-made structures. But old formulations and methods are evolving, as new technologies such as 3D printing and artificial intelligence (AI) promise to make concrete lighter, more durable, and—perhaps most important—more sustainable.

Structural engineer Marcos Silveira is the CEO of Brazilian start-up BRAVO Engineering; he and his team are spearheading a project called Hone Structures, which they hope will help advance sustainable concrete construction techniques. Hone Structures is applying generative design to reinforced concrete structures—starting with proof-of-concept concrete deep beams—to explore material savings and other potential benefits of the process.