Fundamental for the development of large metropolises as we know them today, cement is a material used historically, whose technological advances have revolutionized construction technique and technology of civil construction, enabling the verticalization of construction and the densification of urban centers. Cement, both added to water and sand to make mortar and combined with steel and aggregate to form concrete, performs different functions in a work, from structure to finish.
Concrete: The Latest Architecture and News
After living surrounded and fascinated by post-war concrete architecture in Europe in his early years, Sawosko moved to Taiwan where he eventually realized that Modernism had heavily influenced Taiwan as well. "I felt that [Taiwan's distinctive style of architecture] deserved more recognition", explains Jakub in conversation with ArchDaily via Instagram.
Widely recognized as being responsible for 8% of global CO2 emissions, concrete should be a blacklisted material, relegated to the shameful annals of architectural history. Rapid global urbanization, however, will ensure its unequaled production simplicity and structural strength help retain concrete’s firm grip on the construction industry.
If you can’t beat it, improve it: is the industry’s mantra on innovation, currently developing various alternatives to concrete or its constituent parts and admixtures. So with a concrete set for the environmental green list, the concrete revolution –using the material as an aesthetic exterior facade, interior decoration and fittings, or even in furniture and lighting, as well as a structural framework– is free to continue.
Stairs are often an inevitable part of a building's DNA. Nowadays, staircases not only serve the function of practicality but are also a showcase of their own kind, especially if paired with a color that is guaranteed to grab attention. Among warm colors, red is considered to be the most powerful one. On one hand, it evokes feelings of joy and energy, and on the other, feelings of alertness and danger. Red can stimulate a whole range of emotions. Therefore, its usage should be attentive, delicate, and thought out.
Material researchers and Ph.D. students at Imperial College London, Sam Draper and Barney Shanks have won the 2022 OBEL AWARD for Seratech, a solution for carbon-neutral concrete. With a special focus this year on “embodied emissions”, the OBEL AWARD jury selected scientists to obtain the architecture award to “encourage innovative cross-disciplinary solutions to the challenges of climate change”.
Succeeding to the 2021 laureate, the 15-minute city concept by Professor Carlos Moreno, to 2020’s Anandaloy, a community building made from mud in Bangladesh by Anna Heringer, and Junya Ishigami’s Water Garden in Japan, winner of the 2019 edition, Seratech is the fourth winner of this new international prize for architectural achievement.
Architecture is often an ambitious profession, with many architects hoping to positively contribute to the social life of the communities, create emotional responses, and add moments of delight and solace to our daily experiences. However, market forces have a way of applying constant pressure on this field, often being the deciding factor in many design choices. Costs and economic value are generally a good indicator of how, when, and to what extent certain materials are being used: the standard rule is the cheaper, the better. But materials are only part of the equation. Site labor, management, and design costs are also considered, depicting a complex picture of the balance between the cost of materials and the cost of labor and its effect on the architectural product.
It is expected that by 2050, the rapid depletion of raw materials will leave the world without enough sand and steel to build concrete. On the other hand, the cost of building continues to soar, with an increase between 5% and 11% from last year. And with respect to its impact on the environment, the construction industry still accounts for 23% of air pollution, 50% of the climatic change, 40% of drinking water pollution, and 50% of landfill wastes. Evidently, the construction industry, the environment, and the human race are facing several challenges that are influenced by one another, but it is the human being who is at the greatest disadvantage.
As a response to global challenges such as climate change, discrimination, and physical vulnerability, designers and engineers from across the world have developed innovative construction materials that put the human wellbeing first in urban, architecture, and interior projects.
Michael Heizer’s immense sculpture the City, an ambitious artwork of an extraordinary size, will begin to accept visits from the public beginning September 2, 2022. The announcement was made by the Triple Aught Foundation, the not-for-profit organization responsible for managing the long-term oversight and maintenance of Michael Heizer’s immense sculpture. The artwork, a mile and a half long and nearly half a mile wide, is located in a remote stretch of the high Nevada desert. Work on the structure began in 1972 when the artist was 27 years old.
Concrete can be found in almost any type of construction around the world. But how is it made?
During manufacturing, once in contact with water, concrete’s main ingredient, cement, binds to any aggregates present and goes through a number of complex chemical reactions. That eventually turns it into concrete, a material that is very durable and easy to work with. Despite this reliable durability, concrete can go through a number of internal processes that can lead to serious structural concerns. One of these is alkali-silica reaction (ASR), which can cause cracks in concrete and even put structures in danger of collapse over time.
Enishi Resort Villa / N MAEDA ATELIER + Chiasma Factory + Atelier KAI Architects + A.S.Studio + Atelier SHARE
A series of concave concrete panels hoisted on slender plank-like columns sit amongst the vast rural plains of Sweden, silently redefining the typology of an otherwise utilitarian structure. White Arkitekter's recent proposal for a water tower in Varberg is a slim horizontal structure, deviating from the typical, vertical and round design. Titled VÅGA, it features two tanks for storing water within its unique shape that may actually be better suited to its purpose.
In a cultural capital like Berlin, where ‘pop-up’ stores appear in abandoned warehouses, local brands emerge from stores over-run with squatters, and nightclubs rave in power plants, it is only appropriate that an art gallery would find its home in a nearly indestructible concrete vessel. Such is the case with the “Berlin Bunker” in the heart of the fashionable “Mitte” district.
Monolithic and symmetrical, decorated only by thin strips of vertical windows on its four identical facades, this former Nazi air-raid shelter stands as a relic of Germany’s past. Yet a closer look beyond its sharp-edged cornice reveals something unexpected: luscious green gardens and a luxurious penthouse, completed in 2007. This is the home of Christian Boros, the art collector whose private collection is stored and exhibited in the depths of the fortified bunker below.
Dream of one day making your own home? Well, here's a fun mini alternative in the meantime. The "DIY Concrete House Ring" is a high quality silver and concrete ring that lets users experience the process of 'making'. The ring itself is made from a DIY compact kit, and comes in two familiar architectural silhouettes - gable roof or saltbox roof - and in either light or dark concrete. The project was developed by Linda Bennett, author of "10 Things They Don’t Teach You in Architecture School" and "Searching for a Job in Architecture? 10 Things You Need to Know…" via her blog, archi-ninja. Check out the project's debut on kickstarter (which offers fantastic perks for backers) for more information.