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Exposed Concrete: The Latest Architecture and News

OPEN Architecture Reveals Design for the Shanfeng Academy Campus in Suzhou, China

The architectural practice OPEN has revealed the design for the Shanfeng Academy, a project currently under construction that topped out at the end of April, marking the completion of its highest point. The new campus center, located in a new district of Suzhou city, will host a K-12 international school while also aiming to act as a cultural hub for the local community.

Surrounded by canals, the city of Suzhou is known for its historical gardens with temples, bridges, pavilions, and rock sculptures. These, along with traditional Chinese architecture sites, offer a counterpoint to the city’s active social life and fast-paced business sector. The challenge for OPEN architects was to create a large-scale urban project whilst being sympathetic to the heritage of the city.

Courtesy of OPENCourtesy of OPENCourtesy of OPENCourtesy of OPEN+ 18

Cyclopean Concrete and Its Many Diverse Uses and Applications in Architecture

Historically, "cyclopean" referred to a building technique that superimposed large stone blocks together without any mortar. This allowed for a diverse array of structures across various civilizations, including defensive walls, talayots, navetas, nuraghes, temples, tombs, and forts. Nowadays, the term applies to any ancient structure consisting of large stones superimposed to form a polygonal shape.

Cork Trees House / TRAMA arquitetos

© João Morgado© João Morgado© João Morgado© João Morgado+ 39

Brazilian Interiors With Exposed Structures

Many architects tend to prefer using materials and architectural elements in their natural or raw state. It is common to remove ceilings and finishings, especially in renovation projects, to expose a building's structure. This process of reclaiming the natural materials of construction - without incorporating elements to cover the framework, pipes, tubes, and cables - transforms these spaces into places that have nothing to hide.

Higienópolis Apartment / Teresa Mascaro. Image: © Pedro MascaroExpansion of Apartment in Brazil Building / Alvorada Arquitetos. Image: © Pedro KokApartment AMRA7 / Piratininga Arquitetos Associados + Bruno Rossi Arquitetos. Image: © Nelson KonApartment 3 Zero 8 / Debaixo do Bloco Arquitetura. Image: © Joana França+ 13

Lagos House / MAPA

© Leonardo Finotti© Leonardo Finotti© Leonardo Finotti© Leonardo Finotti+ 35

Ciudad de la Costa, Uruguay
  • Architects: MAPA
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year :  2019
  • Manufacturers Brands with products used in this architecture project
    Manufacturers :  Alufran, Bosch, Dura, Laviere Vitacca, MOAA, +1

Exposed Concrete Apartments in Argentina

Boreas Building / Martín Aloras. Image © Walter SalcedoPueyrredón 1101 / Estudio Pablo Gagliardo. Image © Ramiro SosaLagos Building / Estudio Aire. Image © Walter Salcedo3DF / R2b1. Image © Javier Agustín Rojas+ 11

It's safe to say that concrete is one of the most utilized construction materials in large-scale architectural projects. In Argentina, the use of concrete to construct high-rise apartment buildings offers a variety of advantages, especially when it comes to durability and the time it takes to build. This has made it the go-to material for many architects.

Cork Oak House / Hugo Pereira Arquitetos

© Ivo Tavares Studio© Ivo Tavares Studio© Ivo Tavares Studio© Ivo Tavares Studio+ 52

Celorico de Basto, Portugal

House Petry / Estúdio MRGB

© Hermes Romão© Hermes Romão© Hermes Romão© Hermes Romão+ 25

  • Architects: Estúdio MRGB
  • Area Area of this architecture project Area :  420
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year :  2019
  • Manufacturers Brands with products used in this architecture project
    Manufacturers :  Alutec, Bontempo, Centrogran, Deca, Hill House, +3

Bamboo Formwork and Exposed Concrete in Architectural Projects

House for Trees / Vo Trong Nghia Architects. Image © Hiroyuki Oki
House for Trees / Vo Trong Nghia Architects. Image © Hiroyuki Oki

While concrete is without a doubt the world's go-to building material thanks to its durability, malleability, and ability to withstand a wide range of climates, it is also the principal source of CO2 emissions within the realm of construction. To combat this and reduce their creations' carbon footprint, many architects have begun experimenting and innovating in a bid to optimize concrete's technical qualities while diminishing its impact on the environment. Among these efforts, there are several projects that have explored the possibility of replacing traditional frameworks with more sustainable materials like bamboo, a resource that grows in abundance throughout many regions of the world and, along with having minimal environmental impact, renders high quality textured detailing on a variety of architectural surfaces.

Concrete Houses in Ecuador: Living Spaces that Break the Mold

Casa JS-DM / Diez+Muller Arquitectos. Image © Sebastián CrespoodD House 1.0 / odD+. Image © Jose Ignacio Correa & Jean-Claude Constant LCasa Tacuri / Gabriel Rivera Arquitectos. Image © BICUBIKCasa entre Bloques / Natura Futura Arquitectura. Image © JAG Studio+ 21

With its wide range of applications and cosmetic properties, concrete is having a moment in the world of architecture. Today, thanks to the ever-moving stream of innovation in concrete production and application, optimal results are now the norm rather than the exception. For architects and builders alike, concrete is an opportunity to explore and experiment with tones and textures, ensuring that there is something for every design and project. 

Concrete Houses in Spain: Exploring Cement's Sustainability Potential

Concrete Houses in Spain: Exploring Cement's Sustainability PotentialConcrete Houses in Spain: Exploring Cement's Sustainability PotentialConcrete Houses in Spain: Exploring Cement's Sustainability PotentialConcrete Houses in Spain: Exploring Cement's Sustainability Potential+ 31

It's no secret that concrete has one of the highest CO2 emissions of all building materials, making it a focal point for architects looking to innovate and experiment with it as a way to optimize its production and application in construction while decreasing its environmental impact. This exploration of elements such as concrete's thermal inertia, which could serve to make buildings more energy efficient, as well as its durability, which guarantees a long-lasting, zero- maintenance structure even in the most extreme of climates. The ultimate goal is to create luminous living spaces with natural ventilation while simultaneously exploring the possibility of reusing frameworks as a way of cutting costs and streamlining the building process.

A History of Concrete Molds, From Thomas Edison's Failed Cement Company to "Habitat 67"

The use of concrete in construction is probably one of the main trademarks of 20th century architecture. Concrete is composed of a combination of materials which when mixed with water solidify into the shape of the container where it is poured in. In this sense, it is the container or the ‘moulds’ who rule the outcome. The reuse of molds for casting concrete is a technique used to replicate and control the production of concrete elements or buildings. Architects and designers have used/created diverse types of molds and casting techniques to explore the limits of the material.