Concrete is used by many architects from around the world who have all been inspired by its incredible practical properties. Concrete is durable, low maintenance, strong and supremely moldable which makes it one of the most versatile building materials available. It has been used to built cultural buildings like churches, residential buildings and homes, historical buildings like colosseums and even entire cities.
The World Architecture News runs an annual competition called the WAN Concrete In Architecture Awards whereby by they shortlist, celebrate and award various concrete based structure and projects around the world. Companies all over the world often pay close attention to these awards as it highlights the many uses of concrete in contemporary construction. One example of is Leeds-based concrete garage manufacturer Dencroft Garages that use concrete in almost all of its buildings.
The Huaxin Wisdom Hub in Shanghai, China
this was designed by Atelier Deshaus and aims to reflect the cleverness and confidence of the architect by using small perforations in the hallmark finish. The exterior and interior is painted and designed to contrast with each other as the inside is calm and beautiful whilst the outside has a very raw finish. The Hub is extremely well lit and the lighting is embedded in the material.
Twig House, Melbourne
This project was designed by Australian architects Leeton Pointon and Allison Pye and uses beautiful broad markings and large curves to give a real solidity and sense of the size of the concrete and showcases a lot of what concrete can bring. A large curved wall is void of any real standout features and conceals the architectural establishment behind it.
Flight 93 National Memorial, Pennsylvania
The memorial is in the small village of Shanksville which commemorates the victims of Flight 93 which was hijacked as part of the September 11th attacks. The Flight 93 memorial is a 2,200-acre national park at the site where the plane crash landed in Pennsylvania. The tall-standing trees with jagged branches at the site of the crash was used as inspiration for the memorial and was reflected through the various concrete elements in the memorial. Concrete is sued throughout the design firstly to give structural integrity, secondly to give a breath-taking visual view of a grand scale and also to reflect a degree of calmness and peacefulness at the site.
The new headquarters in Lisbon, Portugal for a global innovation and communication company called GS1 also made the shortlist. The headquarters uses concrete to create a calm and simple structure in a seemingly chaotic context. The building uses a striking waffle-slab system which overlaps in a simple column grid formation. The building has three distinct areas, corresponding to the different floors. The ground floor concentrates the public sphere of the centre’s activities, a showroom and a multi-purpose auditorium whilst the second floor is home to management and services with an open-plan space, meeting rooms and toilet areas and the rooftop holds a bar/coffee shop opening onto a shaded terrace.