Why People Have Come to Love Concrete
You might be surprised to find out that there are dedicated ‘concretephiles’ out there. The gray, utilitarian building material has got a pretty bad reputation among most sectors of society. It is associated with dull office blocks, crumbling roadways and soulless municipal buildings around the world.
Despite this, there is a growing number of people that want us to consider the beauty in concrete. They point out that it is the design, use and social impact of a place that creates positive or negative connotations – not the material used. You might find it hard to believe that concrete has a big fanbase of well-informed people, but after reading this article you might find that it makes a little more sense. Here are some of the reasons why some people have come to love concrete.
There Is Beauty in Decay
Concrete shows age very clearly. Most people consider this a negative factor, with many people willing to pay a concrete removal cost just to rid themselves of crumbling grey material in their buildings. Some people, however, see a great beauty in the way that concrete shows its age. Concrete may be human made, but it is made using natural materials that react to environmental input. Some designers believe that this allows a building to show how perceptions related to the passing of time are related to material journeys.
Heritage practitioners have become fascinated with the idea that material journeys, decay and entropy influence our understanding of permanency and history. Theorists like Catlin Desilvey celebrate the visual passing of time that concrete displays, describing it as an example of ‘positive entropy’.
Not All Concrete Is Alike
It is a common misconception that concrete is a homogenous gray material that never differs. In fact, concrete structures differ from each other hugely. There are a number of factors that influence this: the mix used, the materials available, the climate the building was made in and the use of the structure. All of this means that every concrete building has unique textures and aesthetic features that can be examined and interpreted.
It Is Beloved of Innovative Designers
Concrete has been the material of choice for daring architects the world over. Frank Lloyd Wright built his famous Fallingwater house primarily out of the material. Modernist architecture relied heavily on concrete. New and exciting shapes could be created by pouring concrete, and buildings of immense strength could be designed in daring ways. Brutalist architecture was a school of modernist design in which people used concrete to accentuate extreme angles and material properties.
It Can Represent Optimistic Politics
Many of the world’s most ambitious social housing developments and public buildings were built with concrete. For some people, concrete buildings can represent an optimistic post-war kind of politics that puts working people first and is aimed at providing them with welfare.
This might be a bit of a rose-tinted way of looking at things, but you have to admit that concrete can represent a more caring political epoch.