Abstract:Invented in Assyria, known as Roman concrete during the Roman Empire, concrete was also used in the early Middle Ages. The people behind the 19th century Industrial Revolution took up the idea of using iron and transmutation of concrete as an interpretation of a new form of art. Its latest manifestations include large span bridges, thin-walled coverings, large structures reaching up to several hundred meters. How can one judge the beauty of the engineering structure? Today the questions posed are: How to preserve concrete constructions? While starting a new work today, we want to give the world’s most common building material the mysterious power that creates the foundations of the new “wonderful world of concrete”. The dream of the transmutation of matterstill inspires minds. The famous 12 principles still give rise to the reflection among contemporary chemists and authors of structural art. The integration of forms and colours of construction materials with nature reveals unexpected associations of arch-holism; it is also linked to the future of the transmutation of structural art integrated with nature – the mother of science and wisdom.
Abstract:Architecture cannot be the response to a particular demand. Like art in general, architecture has to ask the questions and formulate their answers at the same time. This is its necessary freedom, which does not mean detachment from reality but simply the freedom to know the reality in which it is inserted… to construct a new reality that knows how to interpret the values and aspirations of our time. The ultimate goal of architecture is to “touch the heart. ”But what touches the heart in the forms of architecture, if not the recognition of their meaning? The relationship between form and meaning has to be established anew each time, in full awareness of the tradition, but with the freedom of thought that allows us to go beyond any pre-set relationship. Architecture is not superfluous, as many think, but necessary for the wellbeing of us all.
Abstract:The invention of reinforced concrete by Joseph Monier, a French gardener, and the subsequent development by great Swiss engineers and French architects like Anatol de Baudot, Robert Maillart, Gustave and Auguste Perret, Eugène Freyssinet – to mention only some – allowed twenty-century architects to come closer to the achievements of the builders of the Gothic Cathedrals.
Abstract:When new materials and technologies are introduced, it is often the engineers who are interested in exploring and demonstrating the technical and formal potential of this material. Eduardo Torroja (1899–1961) was a Spanish engineer who pioneered, in his work, the use of reinforced concrete, connecting structural logic to formal expression. A prominent example of his art is the hippodrome Zarzuela in Madrid (1941) in which he applied simple yet refined principles to create a work of great logic and beauty. It seems that sometimes engineers are the better architects.
Abstract:History gave many different shapes to the appearance of concrete. The most important architectural material of the last century is now becoming more discussed, perhaps because its true final quality is quite difficult to control during the construction phase.
But being a material, which, at the same time is very new (for its potential) and very old (for the craftsmanship necessary to a perfect result), it is still a very large field of study that can be deepened and thoroughly investigated.
Same examples from the older architecture (first half of the 20th century) and from an Italian architect who “imported” into Australia the most up-to-date techniques (second half of the 20th century): both examples to show the extraordinary nature of this material.
Abstract:The modernist pursuit of simple designs has had some unfortunate consequences, such as depleted forms. Constantly “refined”, thus increasingly primitive although retaining the same cubical shape. This is how the buildings known as “the Polish cubes” were created and this is also how the paving block came to be. Luckily, despite this, we also have examples of the cube form being a symbol of architectural success.
Abstract:The article reflects on the two architects who played a significant role in building a unique architectural and urban imagination on the world-wide panorama of contemporary architecture. The author refers to the Argentinian architect Amancio Williams (1913–1989) and his design of Casa del Puente in Mar del Plata and the “Umbrellas” – special thin shell structures – and to the Italian-Argentinian architect Clorindo Testa (1923–2013) and his two most representative works, both built in Buenos Aires, the Bank of London and South America and the National Library. The works are analysed according to themes that refer to concrete architecture and its possible linguistic and constructive declinations. Particularly to the meaning of form in the function of the structural-material component, and to the laws governing the relationship between static solids and architectural solutions.
Abstract:In the architecture of Perret, characterized by the use of reinforced concrete, the relationship between form and construction is very close. A system of coherence between the constructive system and the architecture, between form and construction, characterizes his work. For Perret „an architecture that does not come from a constructive system is nothing but fashion”. His architecture and the forms adopted are coherent with the chosen construction system, in which not only the practical purpose but also the representative one is evident.
Some interesting and coherent research is based on the correspondence between the constructive system and the formal-representative system that highlights the character and appropriateness of the building with respect to the theme. Techniques and construction also impose on the form some necessary limits that free the architectural invention.
Abstract:Frank Lloyd Wright had many ways of using concrete (and reinforced concrete), creating the spatial forms characteristic of his work. All the structures he designed constitute an aesthetic search for architecture which steers clear of historicism and Art Nouveau and looks towards local tradition for inspiration, whilst taking advantage of new technical opportunities. Gradually, hand in hand with a new way of applying concrete and reinforced concrete in frames, monolithic structures and standard pre-fabricates, Frank Lloyd Wright experimented with new technical solutions. During the Great Depression of the 1930s and the Second World War, he turned to locally available materials in their rawest form, exhibiting the artistic qualities of stones and unformed concrete. In the former case, concrete block and textile block systems were developed, whilst in the latter a technology which he dubbed desert rubble stone was coined and subsequently used for the construction of buildings in the Arizona desert.
Abstract:Nowadays, concrete appears as a material that gives the freedom to shape elements and objects. These words may sound like the obviousness, but there has appeared something new in architecture since modernism – Architectural Concrete. This more and more popular name can become a pretext for further reflections on this common material. Most importantly, Architectural Concrete presents itself as an object of interest not only to professionals. Recognizing this common material as unique is not a new discovery. The novelty consists in discovering its beauty and emancipation from the structural material to the ornament. Contemporary creators accustom us to the new perception of this material. The variety of forms and the impossibility of unambiguous systematization predispose to formulate the thesis of the emergence of a new, difficult to name, trend – Architectural Concrete. It must be stressed that it is detached from all styles of building and creates its own artistic language.