Material Inspiration: 10 Projects Inspired by Concrete

To celebrate the launch of ArchDaily Materials, our new product catalog, we’ve rounded up 10 awesome projects from around the world that were inspired by one material: concrete. Check out the projects after the break…

Vitra Fire Station / Zaha Hadid 

One of the first realized projects in Zaha’s career, the Vitra Fire Station in Germany uses concrete planes that bend, tilt, and break according to the conceptual, dynamic forces connecting landscape and architecture.

© Wojtek Gurak

Cathedral of Brasilia / Oscar Niemeyer 

The structure of this Brazilian cathedral, created by one of the great concrete masters, is made up of sixteen parabolic concrete columns reaching up towards the sky. The columns integrate with the stained glass windows, which are different shades of blue, white and brown.

© Jane Sweeney

Crematorium Baumschulenweg / Shultes Frank Architeckten 

A German crematorium comprised of simple boxes and columns of concrete. The building includes a slat-steered casing of glass and allows light to filter into the ceremonial halls from the concrete column tops.

© Mattias Hamrén

Bagsværd Church / Jørn Utzon 

The unassuming exterior of this church in Denmark merely hints at the stirring forms inside. It is clad in white precast concrete panels and glazed white tiles attached to a frame. Utzon positioned the reflective glazed tiles to relate to the sinuous concrete curves of the interior sanctuary.

© seier + seier

Salk Institute / Louis Kahn 

The Salk Institute in California is one of the great architectural masterpieces, both an “intellectual retreat” and an inspiring environment for scientific research. The concrete was poured using a technique studied in Roman architecture. In order to attain a warm glow in the concrete, Kahn allowed no finishing touches once the concrete was set.

© Liao Yusheng

Brufe Social Center / Imago 

This Portuguese social center was designed as a building that is turned inside out. That concrete block form is carved out by openings that illuminate the interior space and courtyard within.

© José Campos

Tama Art University Library / Toyo Ito 

The randomly placed concrete arches in this library, located in the suburbs of Tokyo, Japan, were designed to allow individuals to easily flow through different spaces and have a variety of views.

© Iwan Baan

Igualada Cemetery / Enric Miralles +

A new type of cemetery found in Spain that was designed as an earthwork blending into the landscape. The gabion walls and the worn/aged concrete evoke the hard and rough landscape of the surrounding hills.

© David Cabrera

Grisons College of Education /  

A concrete structure in combination with roughly-cut formwork make up this college in Switzerland. The column-free space and smooth white surfaces allow light to reflect far into the interior. 

© Ralph Feiner

Sunset Chapel / BNKR Arquitectura 

Clients asked that this Mexican chapel take full advantage of spectacular views and that the sun set exactly behind the altar cross. The team worked the concrete form to make the chapel look like “just another” colossal boulder atop the mountain.

© Esteban Suárez

And, if you haven’t yet, make sure to check out our fantastic new product catalog - ArchDaily Materials.

Cite: Baldwin, Eric. "Material Inspiration: 10 Projects Inspired by Concrete" 18 Dec 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed 16 Sep 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=457418>

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