This episode of Section D, Monocle 24's weekly review of design, architecture and craft, examines the changing use and role of "one of the most simultaneously decried and admired materials in twentieth century architecture:" concrete. Exploring the "unlikely revival of a polarising product" in the cultural perception of many, this cheap, abundant and energy-hungry resource is studied as one of the most prolific and diverse building materials in history.
As well as discussions about concrete's sustainability and use in product design, the episode includes a profile of Park Hill estate in Sheffield, Europe's largest listed building. Opened in 1961, Park Hill is one of the standout examples of brutalist public housing in postwar Britain. Initially successful, poor social housing policy led to Park Hill's slow decline throughout the 1980s and 90s into one of Britain's notorious "sink estates." Facing potential demolition, it was awarded Grade II listed status in 1998 by English Heritage, and is now being redeveloped by private developers Urban Splash in partnership with Sheffield Council.