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I N S I G H T : m a s o n r y & c o n c r e t e Concepts in Concrete Used creatively for more than 2,000 years, concrete endures as the world’s most common building mate- photo by Michael bodycomb ©Kimbell Art Museum by Vance Pool In the hands of a talented designer, concrete can evoke a sense of timelessness and utmost simplicity. (above) The parallel concrete vaults of Louis Kahn’s Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth illustrate the versatility of concrete as durable structure. (below) Tadao Ando drew inspiration from Kahn when designing the neighboring Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. Ando’s cast-in-place concrete imbues the museum’s galleries with lustrous tactility. photo by Joe Aker - Aker/Zvonkovic Photography Concrete is a versatile material whose aesthetic properties are often not understood. When architects think of concrete they all too often think of bland tilt-up concrete warehouses, plain concrete sidewalks, and boring structural properties. Fortunately, many architects are seeing the limitless boundaries of what concrete can do, not only structurally, but aesthetically. Concrete, the most widely used building material in the world, has proven its sustainability and durability through two millennia of use dating back to Roman structures still in use today. The Pantheon, built in the second century A.D., is a shining example of all the positive attributes concrete brings to a project. The structural benefits, aesthetics, and durability are unquestionable. From an environmental standpoint, what can be more sustainable than to build something which has a productive life of two millennia and still counting? Countless other similar examples exist in the structures produced by the Roman Empire. “Concrete” continued on page 64 62 t e x a s a r c h i t e c t 1 / 2 2 0 0 7

Texas Architect Jan/Feb 2007: Spaces for Learning

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