October 19, 2018

Could evolving architectural concrete be taking us back to the future?

Evolution within architectural concrete could be ushering in a new era of building designs that hark back to the rocking 60s and 70s. This is the view of the Commercial Director of a leading construction company, who says that he is seeing increasing demand for both architectural and decorative concrete.

Well-known as a provider of precast concrete solutions, SCC Design Build typically produce standard facades for projects as varied as high-rise tower blocks, multi-storey car parks and student accommodation. However, Jim Durkan has recently noticed an increase in the number of customers enquiring about both architectural and decorative concrete. Architectural concrete refers to concrete that while providing an aesthetic finish to the building also serves a structural function. Decorative concrete typically refers to concrete flatwork or building elements such as panels, that while enhanced with texture or colour, are not structural building members.

Jim says: “There’s definitely been a resurgence in the popularity of architectural concrete and a growing interest in concrete facades which offer different colours, textures or finishes.

“Today we’re seeing growing variation in our cities’ skylines: architects want to create buildings that are visually interesting and reflect the character of their area. The versatility of architectural concrete – it can be moulded into virtually any shape and can take on a variety of colours – offers designers these options.”

Precast and coloured concrete enjoyed high levels of popularity in the sixties and seventies, with famous concrete buildings such as the Barbican and the National Theatre in London, and even Sydney Opera House, being constructed in this period.

Indeed, Jim suggests that, over the next few years, an entirely new generation of buildings could come about because of the increasing popularity of architectural concrete. “At the moment, high-tech architecture is very popular. These buildings often feature steel structures and curtain walling in combination with concrete, creating a sleek but technical and detailed exterior. It will be interesting to see how this style can be blended with architectural concrete in the future.

“As well as being a very versatile material, concrete is also naturally fire resistant and much less susceptible to corrosion than steel. Architectural concrete offers architects the opportunity to combine the safety aspects of this material with pleasing and unique aesthetics.”

SCC Design Build is based in Stockport on a huge 10.7-acre site and boasts a 157,000 sq. ft. high bay industrial workshop. The company also employ over 200 staff and expects to continue its exponential growth next year.

For more information on SCC Design Build or on architectural concrete please visit www.sccdbltd.co.uk or call 0161 432 7700