For years, concrete has been considered as a simple building material, a mere mix of water and cement powder. The potential of this humble product was largely overlooked, and its uses restrained by its aesthetics. But times have changed.
Forget the dull greyscale look of traditional concrete structures and welcome the new age of idiosyncratic masterpieces; taking advantage of precast concrete panel’s flexibility to have architecturally designed features applied during the manufacturing phase. Artists, architects, graphic designers and savvy builders pushing the design boundaries within the construction industry saw the potential of concrete, which has continued to be realised across a variety of applications.
Architecturally designed features open the opportunity to tell a story with a structure, to make a statement with a wall and express character on an otherwise bland space. When integrating these designs and effects, many draw inspiration from the history of the site, some choose to communicate the brand of their business and planned use of the building and others simply want to add depth and beauty.
The trend of architecturally designed concrete also known as graphic concrete began in the early 2000’s by an Interior Architect, Samuli Naamanka, who studied concrete applications and realised the aesthetic value of concrete as a façade material. From there the method of creating patterned concrete surfaces and implementing the material to the design and construction of buildings was born.
Whether the project is commercial, residential, industrial or agricultural in nature, there is a graphic concrete design to suit its application.
The designer of this multi-level carpark in Sweden took into consideration the office complexes surrounding the carpark and wanted to give them something of an appealing view. This was achieved by integrating a nature scene into the concrete panels that made up the walls of the carpark. Not only did the nature pattern add a playful feeling to a commercial area but it down scaled the enormity of the new car park complex compared to its neighbouring buildings.
This graphically designed concrete was used in the entrance to a nursing home in Denmark. The repetitive and intricate design aims to challenge the minds of dementia patients living in the facility by stimulating thought around the familiar objects found within the pattern.
There are multiple scenarios where nature either surrounds a new build or has been impacted to make room for the build. In Finland, this wall replicated the trees of its surroundings to immerse the intrusion of a new building in a way to pay homage to what was there before.
This design application has been cleverly used to showcase the purpose of the building; the timber plank patterns represents the premises a carpentry business operates from.
This recreation of an image of cows published in a local Finnish newspaper has been repeated along the retaining wall of a new building that stands on the ruins of a veterinary stable from centuries before.
The beauty of precast concrete is that the designs and finishes that can be achieved during the manufacturing process are limited only by imagination!
Akura has the capability to create patterned concrete surfaces to add a ‘wow’ factor to any building project. The process is relatively simple; meaning that these architecturally designed features and finishes can be applied without a hefty price tag.
For more information on our ability to supply and install high quality precast concrete panels for your industrial or commercial project, contact the friendly Akura team.