Experimenting with a very rigid material, Antony Gibbon imagines a residential project where the outer concrete shell twists and turns, in order to create livable spaces. With a very basic function, the proposal is an invitation to push technical boundaries and unleash the imagination.
Concrete: The Latest Architecture and News
Building / Prototype II is an experimental architectural pavilion designed by architect Marc Leschelier for the Feÿ Arts Festival in Burgundy, France. Created in the middle of the forest, in the park of the Château du Feÿ, the permanent installation is the first of an acquired collection to be always displayed on site.
One of the most practical and functional spaces of any residential project is the kitchen. Its artificial surfaces – be it countertops, kitchen benches, or coverings – contain most of the space's equipment. Thus, it’s essential to build kitchens with the most resistant and hygienic materials. Aside from these requirements, it's also important to pay attention to aesthetics and profitability, while adapting the space to the dynamics of each family.
Air-conditioning isn’t just expensive; it’s also terrible for the environment. Accounting for 10% of global energy consumption today, space cooling in 2016 alone was responsible for 1045 metric tons of CO2 emissions. This number is only expected to increase, with the International Energy Agency estimating that cooling will reach 37% of the world’s total energy demand by 2050.
Cracks, which could be classified according to their thickness as fissures or fractures, are serious problems in the construction industry that can negatively affect aesthetics, durability and, most importantly, the structural characteristics of a project. They can happen anywhere, but occur especially in walls, beams, columns, and slabs, and usually, are caused by strains not considered in the design.
Choice of building materials and the inherent continuous reflection about the reach and capabilities of architecture are an interesting alternative way to approach this issue. The materials used in social housing should address local and economic possibilities and the real needs for access to housing in the contemporary context.
In this article, we analyze different projects published on our site to identify some of the predominant materials used in social housing, both for the formation of structures or enclosures. The intentions of this are two-fold: firstly, to create a worldwide panorama of different case studies with different construction styles from a range of geographical locations, and secondly, to provide inspiration and tools to architects to make better social housing.
Below we present 15 social housing projects and their diverse materials and construction styles.
The history of concrete dates back to ancient Rome, approximately 2,000 years ago. The so-called “Roman Concrete” is composed of limestone, volcanic ash, and seawater and it permitted the construction of aqueducts, highways, and temples; many of them still stand to this day. Some time ago, this original mix was discovered to form a mineral called aluminum tobermorite, which gets stronger as time goes by.
Since its invention in 1920, cellular concrete tackled the search for an industrial material that had similar characteristics to wood. It was lightweight, could be cut or perforated, and avoided some of its disadvantages; for instance, its water absorption and need for maintenance. Nowadays, Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (AAC) blocks are actively present in the marketplace by manufacturers like Hebel or Retak, which are building an easy to use and efficient constructive system. If you ever wondered about how to build with these masonry ingredients, it is pertinent to dig a bit deeper into the advantages of this material.
British company Kast has launched a new version of its traditional pigmented concrete sinks. Since concrete is an extremely versatile material, which combines the characteristics of natural stone with the ability to be molded in different forms, the products show carved surfaces with highly defined textures. The exploration of their linear patterns ranges from smooth horizontal ripples to diagonal folds or 'sharp' and vertical grooves. The organic variations in the colors and textures of the surfaces create a different aesthetic that comes directly from the character of the material.
ETH Zurich has unveiled details of “Concrete Choreography,” an installation recently inaugurated in Riom, Switzerland. The installation presents the first robotically 3D printed concrete stage, consisting of columns fabricated without formwork, and printed to their full height in 2.5 hours. The process is expected to greatly improve the efficiency of concrete construction while achieving the fabrication of complex components.
Enishi Resort Villa / N MAEDA ATELIER + Chiasma Factory + Atelier KAI Architects + A.S.Studio + Atelier SHARE
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.