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Materials


A CONCRETE OPPORTUNITY


With self-healing concrete expected to become a more integral part of urban construction schemes, this much maligned material could have a positive future. However, it remains to be seen whether this eco- friendlier approach can gain mainstream approval when it comes at a higher initial cost. Brooke Theis speaks to renowned architects, including Maria Smith, the founder of Interrobang, Tim Bowder Ridger, principal of Conran and Partners, and self-healing concrete pioneer Hendrik Jonkers, about the potential for concrete innovation.


A LEAF REVIEW / www.leading-architects.com


fter water, concrete is the most-used material on Earth. In any single


year, enough is produced to cover every single surface in the whole of England. A simple mixture of aggregates and a lime-based binding paste, its low price tag and


accessibility, has enabled cities across the world to create thriving infrastructure that provides people from all classes with safe and sanitary shelter. Concrete protects us from the elements, resisting both fire and water, its chief quality being to harden and then degrade


exceptionally slowly. Constructed 2,000 years hence, Rome’s Colosseum and Pantheon are still worthy ambassadors for the materials’ profound durability. Naturally, because it can be poured into any form, concrete lends itself to all kinds of variety,


33


Phaidon/Norihiko Dan and Associates from Concrete


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