Due to its ability to be shaped into complex forms and the diversity of textures that it can offer, concrete is one of the favorite materials of many architects, who appreciate its capacity to help them realize their designs. For this reason, for this week's Photos of the Week we have selected 20 images that highlight the beauty and expressiveness of this material. Read on to see a selection of renowned photographers such as Brigida González, Bruno Candiotto, Élena Marini Silvestri, and Raphael Olivier.
This article was originally published by Autodesk's Redshift publication as "Realizing Architectural Dreams Through Design-Assist and Precast Concrete."
Ancient Romans mixed lime and volcanic rock to form a mortar, a precursor to modern reinforced concrete. This made engineering marvels like Rome’s Colosseum possible—still standing more than 2,000 years after its construction.
Today, this versatile material is evolving further: Precast concrete, which is formed and cured in factories before being installed onsite, is bringing about a new wave of architecture that streamlines the building process while reaching toward big, complex ideas.
Held annually, the CEMEX Building Award honors the best architecture and construction both in Mexico and abroad. Yesterday the cement company announced the finalist projects located in Mexico, and in categories ranging from social housing to infrastructure. Each project will be evaluated by a jury convened by CEMEX; the qualities to be evaluated include integrated sustainability, architectural design, structure and innovation in the construction process.
Below see the full list of finalist projects located in Mexico.
More than 2000 years ago, the Roman Empire invented a unique marine concrete that allowed for the construction of enormous, durable structures – even underwater. Incredibly, the exact chemical properties of this concrete mixture have eluded scientists to this day – but now, researchers from the University of Utah believe they may have finally cracked the code.
According to the findings in the journal American Mineralogist, the secret lies in the chemical properties of two of the mixture’s components: lime and volcanic ash, which contained a rare mineral known as aluminium tobermorite. When exposed to sea water, the substance would crystallize in the lime while curing. Rather than be eroded by the water, its presence actually gave the material additional strength.
What makes the color black so enticing for architects? Projects made in black concrete are both striking and complex in their design and are gaining widespread appeal in contemporary projects, both public and private. What we don’t know is just how hard it is to create black concrete in the first place. We spoke with Attilio Panzeri & Partners who have mastered the craft - and here’s what we learned:
For $2500, what can you do with one, single bag of any QUIKRETE Concrete Mix?
The QUIKRETE One Bag Wonder 2.0 contest challenges users to create a project, using just ONE bag of (any) QUIKRETE mix - Mix mediums. Mix design styles. Even add color.
The bag's the only limit.
This article is part of our series "Material in Focus", where we ask architects to share with us their creative process through the choice of materials that define important parts of the construction of their buildings.
Alagoas House used neutral colors and furnishings in order to let local craftsmanship stand out. Some of the strategies that guided the projects included using works by regional artists and decorating with repurposed everyday objects. We spoke with architect João Duayer of Tavares Duayer Arquitetura to learn more about the choice of materials and the determining role that they played in his concept for this project.
Physical models have, for centuries, been a highly-effective way of explaining an architectural idea, allowing the audience to experience a concept in a plan, section, elevation and perspective all at once. However, a model can communicate so much more if you deviate from traditional cardboard materiality. If you want to express the monolithic massing of your latest scheme, or its expressive texture, then a model of plaster or cement may capture so much more than a digital rendering ever could.
Creating a concrete model is profoundly engaging, as it forces us to follow a methodology similar to that of large-scale construction: make a mold / formwork, mix the cement or plaster with water, and then pour. When done correctly, the resulting model could stand as an architectural sculpture in its own right.
Below, we have rounded up concrete models from the ArchDaily archives, giving you the inspiration to set your concrete model ideas in stone.
One of architecture’s most delightful anomalies is the diversity of solutions generated by any given site. From hypothetical university projects by architecture students to professional international design competition entries, the differing perspectives, stances, and experiences brought to rest on one site by several design teams can wield a bounty of contrasting ideas.
Recently, we reported on Nestinbox, a proposal by Swedish architecture firm Manofactory to attach a series of simple, functional houses to a cliff face in Stockholm, addressing the demands of increased populations and land prices in cities across the world. Now, the cliffs of Stockholm have been the subject of an entirely different, though just as evocative concept by Swedish firm UMA. Rather than private housing, UMA proposes the Stockholm Infinity Pool, a public pool 1km along the Sodermalm cliffs of Sweden’s capital.
The Chair of Innovative Construction Materials (CIMC) with the Higher School of Architecture of Málaga and Financiera y Minera S.A. announce the II International Ideas Competition for architects and students of architecture in their graduation project.
During his frequent travels to Seoul, Hong Kong- and Singapore-based photographer Raphael Olivier noticed a new trend taking the South Korean capital: a crop of geometric, concrete buildings of all genres. He calls the new style Neo-Brutalism, after the modernist movement that proliferated in the late 1950s to 1970s, in which raw concrete was meant to express a truth and honesty. Olivier's observation led him to capture the phenomenon in a personal photo series—a photographic treasure trove of these projects which, when taken as a whole, uncovers a cross-section of this trend in the city's architecture.
With the intention of maximizing available space and avoiding steep construction costs, researchers from ETH Zurich’s Department of Architecture have devised a concrete floor slab that with a thickness of a mere 2cm, remains load bearing and simultaneously sustainable. Inspired by the construction of Catalan vaults, this new floor system swaps reinforced steel bars for narrow vertical ribs, thus significantly reducing the weight of construction and ensuring stability to counter uneven distributions on its surface.
As opposed to traditional concrete floors that are evidently flat, these slabs are designed to arch to support major loads, reminiscent of the vaulted ceilings found in Gothic cathedrals. Without the need for steel reinforcing and with less concrete, the production of CO2 is minimized and the resulting 2cm floors are 70% lighter than their typical concrete counterparts.
The architectural competition for Kulbroen (the Coal Bridge) is on and teams can now apply for the pre qualification. Please note that the material is in Danish, so if foreign teams want to sign up it would be a good idea to find someone here that master the language.
The MIRAGE series is made up of concrete handles, knobs, and robe hooks, all of which aim to create character through light and shadow. Some of the pieces, with a zigzag pattern, are meant to reduce the heaviness of the concrete material, making it seem light and delicate, while other pieces are meant to express a sense of solidity.
CBack in 2006, the team of Mecanoo and Ayesa placed first in an international competition with its winning proposal for a perforated courthouse in Córdoba, combining the area’s historical character with a modern twist. Now, after almost a decade, the Palace of Justice is set for completion later this year, having broken ground in 2015.
Inspired by Córdoba’s Moorish origins, the design balances a contemporary concrete mass with traditional exterior courtyard spaces; a reflection of the plan of the old city. These are faced by colored ceramic tiles, which break the façade’s uniformity.
Adding to its regular releases of city guide maps, London-based publisher Blue Crow Media has now produced the Brutalist Paris Map, in collaboration with Nigel Green and Robin Wilson of Photolanguage. Having previously covered Washington D.C.’s most prominent Brutalist buildings, the latest map highlights over 40 Parisian examples of Brutalist architecture.
While large-scale 3D printing for architecture continues to be a busy area of research, France-based company XtreeE has been using 3D printed concrete in projects since 2015. Their latest creation is an organic truss-style support structure for a preschool playground in Aix-en-Provence.