I die. So funny. Thanks Sara G. Garrett.
This is a restaurant in Okinawa, Japan placed atop a tree. If this blog is about concrete… why am I posting a tree? Because it’s made out of concrete! Bizarre design. To get into the restaurant, you take an elevator up the trunk. Still unsure of the cuisine served… Any guesses?
Super cool bench designs. Particularly this one that looks like it was a strip of pavement lifted up into a bench. This reminds me of several parking-turned-community spaces I saw littered throughout San Francisco when I was visiting a few months ago. They’re dubbed "Parklets" and are designed by different artists and strewn throughout the city making on or two adjacent parking spaces in a neighborhood into a community space with seating and tables that are of aesthetic interest. Obviously this would start in the Bay Area of all places. :)
Promotional video released by Silverstein Properties showing the construction of and graphics of the new World Trade Center. It’s pretty slick. The main uses of concrete on the new WTC are a super strong concrete building core for stability and high strength concrete surrounding all of the stairwells for security. Typical concrete has a compressive strength of 4,000 to 5,000 psi (pounds per square inch). The concrete being used on the WTC ranges from 10,000 to 15,000 psi. This article does a pretty good job of going through the details of the concrete applications on the job. But to be honest, a lot of it seems like it is being over engineered to alleviate anxiety and for political purposes rather than any actual structural or security reasoning. At a certain point, no matter how strong the concrete - there is a force that will be able to overcome it. Live and let live I guess.
Going back to the video … watching it makes me miss construction and want to go back! Anyone need a project engineer in L.A.?
Very cool use of construction materials. Contemporary chair design made of concrete and steel reinforcing bar. Looks decidedly uncomfortable, but kind of a neat take on a park bench for outside spaces. Designed by a Swiss guy, Stefan Zwicky.
Long day in the lab mixing cement paste. You heard that right. So exhausted I could probably fall asleep on this thing stat. Night.
Concrete pendant lights by Italian designers Lucidi and Pevere for high end lighting company, Foscarini! The designers said that it took them over two years of product design and experimentation to get the desired concrete thickness.
Someone commented to me that interior architecture and design with a lot of exposed concrete and steel would seem very cold. I disagree, but with the caveat that you would have to dress it up a lot. The furniture in my apartment is made of black finished wood, natural welded carbon steel, and stainless steel. But it’s decorated with a lot of textures (all natural colors though… wouldn’t want to freak anyone out by throwing in any actual color) - thick area rugs, satin curtains, throw pillows, plants, glass vases full of white tulips, concrete candle stick holders with white tapered candles, black and silver framed photos of smiling friends and family, a grey wicker side chair with white cushion, white cloth lampshades (you get the gist?) - such that it actually feels quite cozy and serene. I guess you could also take that the opposite direction and made it contemporary, but that’s not my style. Maybe my company will also feature an interior design branch. #futurebusinessopportunitybrainstorming
Concrete Counter Top
How gorgeous is this counter top? It’s a custom taupe colored concrete kitchen counter (alliteration unintended) by Trueform Concrete, a residential and commercial concrete contractor (again, unintended) based out of New Jersey. In addition to counter tops, you can create beautiful back splashes, floors, fireplaces, sinks, tables, planters, etc. all out of this fluid material and completely customize it to fit the shape, size, color and texture that you want.
I think the future of my company (Urban Tribe, get ready for it) is going to include a self-performing residential concrete contracting branch for structural and architectural purposes. Open for input.
How can you see the silhouette of a tree through a concrete wall? With translucent concrete called Litracon developed by a Hungarian architect in 2001. The concrete is cast with thousands of optical fibers that transmit light from one surface to the other, with very little loss of light and oftentimes it can even transmit colors through the wall as well. The optical fibers only take up about 4% by volume of the concrete, and currently it is being used in all kinds of architectural applications. Even though the strength has been shown to be comparable to that of normal concrete, it is not yet being used for structural purposes because it is prefabricated and pretty expensive. Oh, and because the construction industry is the slowest industry to adapt to technology and innovations. :) Let’s see if we can do something about that.
Side note: Thanks to Tammy and Sam for sending the article to me from the Portland Cement Association’s website!
Ultra High Performance Concrete (UHPC)
This article is from The Architect’s Newspaper about Ultra High Performance Concrete developed by a design and manufacturing company called TAKTL in Pennsylvania. This new concrete has higher strength, an ability to withstand severe environmental impacts, is water resistant and comes in lots of different colors!