It might conjure up an immediate association with car parks and brutalism but, love it or hate it, concrete is here to stay. Cast-on-site or pre-cast, rough or polished, concrete is a top choice for structural design, as well as for interior finishes – and its thermal mass makes it surprisingly environmentally-friendly. We take a look at five projects that have benefited from the qualities of concrete as a durable resource for family residences, public buildings and tiny houses.
Gymnasium by Dominique Coulon et Associés
Photo and lead image Eugeni Pons
CLAMART – Dominique Coulon & Associés has a self-confessed signature style of oblique, bold volumes that distort depending on the viewing angle. The newly completed gymnasium Les Closiaux, just outside Paris, is the epitome of the studio’s work in France.
Tiny Concrete House by Aranza de Ariño
Photo Edmund Sumner
OAXACA – A tiny house designed for a couple on the Oaxacan coast, in San Pedro Tututepec, Mexico, is one of young architect Aranza de Ariño’s first professional projects. The building is a holiday home that supplies minimal functions, located 200 m from the beach in an unpopulated area.
Issam Fare Institute by Zaha Hadid Architects
Photo Hufton + Crow
BEIRUT – Before Zaha Hadid became known as the queen of the curve, her best known projects – both theoretical proposals as well as her built work – were widely admired for suspending fluid, crisp shards in space. In the latest finished project, Hadid's architecture studio returns to its roots to remind us that the starchitect is not a one-trick pony after all.
Casa G by Esaú Acosta
Photo courtesy of the architect
TENERIFE – The name ‘Casa G’ refers to neither a physical address nor a chic monogram. As Spanish architect Esaú Acosta of Estudio SIC explains, there were Casa A, Casa B, Casa C, and so on, preceding the final model for the home in Canary Islands’ Tenerife.
Family House by Sabaoarch
Photo Yuji Nishijima / Oono Shigeru
TOKYO – Narrow and less-than-ideally situated building sites are not wholly unusual in dense Japanese cities, but a 3-m wide plot, wedged between two roads in Tokyo’s Shibuya neighbourhood is certainly a rarity. This did not deter Sabaoarch from designing a house for a family of three.
You can see all of our concrete projects online here.