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I saw this article on the Guardian this morning:

Learning to love concrete: meet the 'living listed' buildings and architects
http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2013/sep/26/architects-buildings-english-heritage-listed

...and it got me thinking; would I ever consider building a garden - or the majority of it at least - just out of concrete, or concrete products?

My own answer is, yes, I think I would. I do think there's an opportunity to create all of the supporting structure from concrete: either complimented with and softened with planting or just as an architectural statement.

What are your thoughts....would you consider designing/building a garden purely made of concrete?

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  • I don't know if anyone has seen the book simply titled 'Concrete' by William Hall - my brother-in-law was given it at work(the now Lafarge Tarmac) and it's fascinating! The number of awe inspiring structures that have been artfully created from concrete are a wonder to ponder over. The New York Guggenheim for one and many other utilitarian structures that actually are marvels upon a second look.

    Glasgow School of arts new building has a seriously bold concrete cylindrical shaft that runs at an angle straight through the new structure and has some very unique, yet accidental features. Before the concrete was poured into one of the moulds a single leaf managed to find its way in, unbeknownst to the architect until it was set and ready to be incorporated into the new building. Inspired by the contrast this single leaf gave to this huge mass of unnatural concrete he decided to have a single leaf on every section of concrete thereafter. You can imagine the moment when someone walks by and completely unexpectantly catches that imprint left by that lone leaf in the corner of their eye, only to be drawn back to it in wonder. What a beautiful moment.

    With creativity concrete can be used as a very practical material but also as a contrasting material when balanced with its surrounding materials and landscape.

  • PRO

    Thanks Neil...do you have links or any images?

    Personally I find concrete inspiring, yet understated and under used.

    I found it interesting flicking through the image gallery of this company what repairs concrete structures: http://www.concrete-repairs.co.uk/image_gallery.php

    Neil Petrie BSc Landscape Mgt said:

    I don't know if anyone has seen the book simply titled 'Concrete' by William Hall - my brother-in-law was given it at work(the now Lafarge Tarmac) and it's fascinating! The number of awe inspiring structures that have been artfully created from concrete are a wonder to ponder over. The New York Guggenheim for one and many other utilitarian structures that actually are marvels upon a second look.

    Glasgow School of arts new building has a seriously bold concrete cylindrical shaft that runs at an angle straight through the new structure and has some very unique, yet accidental features. Before the concrete was poured into one of the moulds a single leaf managed to find its way in, unbeknownst to the architect until it was set and ready to be incorporated into the new building. Inspired by the contrast this single leaf gave to this huge mass of unnatural concrete he decided to have a single leaf on every section of concrete thereafter. You can imagine the moment when someone walks by and completely unexpectantly catches that imprint left by that lone leaf in the corner of their eye, only to be drawn back to it in wonder. What a beautiful moment.

    With creativity concrete can be used as a very practical material but also as a contrasting material when balanced with its surrounding materials and landscape.

  • PRO

    Concrete isn't a modern material. It was extensively used by the Romans to build many buildins that still stand strong today.

    Here are a couple of interesting articles on the secrets of Roman concrete and how researchers have tried to solve the riddle of how Roman concrete is so good.

    The secrets of ancient Rome concrete
    http://www.history.com/news/the-secrets-of-ancient-roman-concrete

    The riddle of ancient Rome concrete
    http://www.romanconcrete.com/docs/spillway/spillway.htm

  • PRO
  • PRO
  • I love concrete and would like to use it on my new house currently undergoing major changes. I love the way it can provide large seamless slabs and paths. Also as a walling material. Its just a shame it is hard to work with when used vertically unless you have lots of wailings shuttering etc.

  • PRO

    Look at the way concrete has been used in this Miner's Shelter.

    The Miner’s Shelter is a desert dwelling located at Taliesin West in Scottsdale Arizona. The shelter was designed and built by Taliesin student Dave Frazee. The concept and title comes from the architectural ruins that were found at the project’s site. The shelter’s design geometry is inspired by the existing concrete pad and chimney mass. The shelter is held at two feet above the desert surface by two steel posts and one of the original concrete walls. It is coddled by a nearby Palo Verde tree.

    Read about this project here: http://taliesin.edu/shelters/shelters7.html

  • ..and what about the pyramids of egypt!

    http://www.livescience.com/1554-surprising-truth-great-pyramids-bui...

    my old school in pimlico london was a brut architecture example that had listed status even though it was constructed in 1967. quite sad to hear it has since been demolished.

    http://www.brutalismus.com/e/?/concept/

  • PRO

    Thanks for the info on the Pyramids Neil.

    I've read much about the ancient Egyptians - how there's evidence of the pyramids being huge electricity generatorsand that some of the stones were so accurate they must have been machined with advanced technologies, but not, until now, considered that the stones were anything but dressed stone.

    neil aldridge said:

    ..and what about the pyramids of egypt!

    http://www.livescience.com/1554-surprising-truth-great-pyramids-bui...

    my old school in pimlico london was a brut architecture example that had listed status even though it was constructed in 1967. quite sad to hear it has since been demolished.

    http://www.brutalismus.com/e/?/concept/

  • As a finished building material I would choose stone over concrete any day of the week. Not just because I'm involved in the stone industry but because I think stone has certain charcteristics that concrete simply cannot compete with.

    I love the uniquness of stone, no 2 pieces are ever quite the same. I also like the way that the appearance of stone will change as it weathers. Look at reclaimed Yorkstone for example (which is my favourite type of stone), it just gets better and better with age.

    Stone has also got something that no man made material can compete with and that is its versatility. Check out the following shots as to what, with a little bit of effort, can be done with a piece of natural stone.

    This is a piece of polished limestone. The grooves have been cut every 10mm to a consistent depth and using a basic chisel, the cut sections are chipped off. The finished piece could be used in a garden to create a feature wall or a water feature

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