Liquid Stone: New Architecture in Concrete

By Jean-Louis Cohen

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Produced at a fee of five billion cubic yards according to yr, concrete is the second one most generally fed on substance in the world, after water. it really is ubiquitous and simply taken without any consideration because the stuff of sidewalks and roads, strength vegetation and parking garages. Concrete can be, even though, a popular fabric of state of the art architects and engineers, who worth not just its versatility and energy yet its limitless strength for creative expression. A hybrid substance made of cement, water, sand, and mineral aggregates, concrete—or liquid stone—has no intrinsic shape. within the arms of gifted designers, its final visual appeal is dictated by way of the framework into which it truly is poured and the colour, texture, or development utilized to its floor.
In a chain of essays through most sensible architects, engineers, and students, Liquid Stone explores the character of concrete, its prior and destiny, from technical, creative, and ancient views. Over thirty structures by way of major overseas architects together with Jean Nouvel, Herzog & de Meuron, Zaha Hadid, Steven Holl, Norman Foster, and Santiago Calatrava are provided via special descriptions, images, and technical drawings.
The publication concludes with "The way forward for Concrete," a bankruptcy on newly rising fabrics. the following self-consolidated, ultra-high-performance, and translucent concrete are illustrated, introducing the subsequent iteration in concrete expertise and suggesting new instructions for either structure and engineering.

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While even a devoted champion of contemporary structure like Sir Nikolaus Pevsner may write, “Concrete with all of the shuttering marks can by no means be attractive,”6 it's transparent that we're facing a fabric with a picture challenge. the tale of the response opposed to concrete within the Seventies is widely known, however it is worthy mentioning that even ahead of the good interval of concrete construction, within the overdue Fifties and early Sixties, there have been rumblings of disquiet approximately concrete from eu intellectuals. 7 “I don't dream whilst in Paris, during this geometric dice, during this cement cellphone, during this iron-shuttered bed room so adversarial to nocturnal matter,” complained the French thinker Gaston Bachelard in 1948. eight And others, together with Theodor Adorno and Henri Lefebvre, have been ranging from this time to be severe of the sooner optimism that had surrounded concrete. Even in specialist circles, there have been reservations in regards to the common use of concrete. As one of many British postwar development committees warned in 1946, “A huge extension of using concrete is inevitable.... a fabric with out a heritage 37 In current stipulations of layout and process it might be a catastrophe if in-situ concrete have been unrestrictedly utilized in the rebuilding of our cities and villages .... we can't ask our inhabitants to steer a whole and satisfied existence in such atmosphere. ”9 What are the explanations for the hostility to concrete? whilst the good response opposed to concrete set in through the Nineteen Seventies, the concrete looked as if it would think that what was once fallacious with concrete used to be that its caliber was once no longer more than enough, and it targeted its assets upon removing the imperfections of concrete as a way to make it smoother, denser, and not more liable to staining and cracking. In different phrases, the industry’s procedure for overcoming the repulsion many of us had for concrete was once to make it much less like concrete and extra like different fabrics, most glaringly stone. normally, the concrete within the Eighties rebranded itself as a purveyor of “artificial stone. “ Now, whereas you can see why the concrete selected to faux that what it was once generating was once now not concrete in any respect, a different—and within the long-term, very likely extra successful—strategy could have been to seem tougher at what it used to be approximately concrete that repelled humans, for it really is not likely that it was once the imperfections. it can look that the objections to concrete have been the objections to modernity itself—concrete simply occurs to be a very determine 6 GLC Architects’ Deptartment, Queen Elizabeth ubiquitous and vibrant image of modernity. Like modernity, it brings corridor, London, 1968, river elevation humans jointly yet cuts them off from each other; it overcomes the forces of nature determine 7 BPR, place of work and home development, 2–4, yet obliterates nature; it emancipates us yet finally ends up destroying previous methods of lifestyles and previous Corso Francia, Turin, 1959 craft abilities. And, like modernity, it really is irreversible—there is not any turning again. 10 those usually are not positive factors of concrete that the can have performed a lot approximately.

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