16 April 2015


Text: Jessica Sicking

Not only in architecture has concrete been in favour for several years, but it is becoming increasingly popular in product design, too. Against expectations, this has proven more than just a fleeting trend. As a construction material, its special properties open up new possibilities for design, while also providing a striking aesthetic. 



Ulrich Knaack, Tillman Klein, Marcel Bilow

Imagine 08.



Nai010 Publishers

120 pages, € 24,50

ISBN 978-94-6208-221-2


Imagine is a series of publications that looks specifically at the research surrounding new forms of technology and developments in the field of materials, in order to inspire architects and designers alike. The eighth book is entitled “Concretable” and focuses on the topic of concrete, describing its status quo in relation to technology, the potential for development, suggestions for future areas of research, and various examples of actual use.


Although concrete has been used as a construction material in architecture for over 150 years, the book reveals that the material is currently undergoing a renaissance. Architects and designers are not only discovering the material’s properties anew, but also realising its associated potential for design. A whole range of new types of concrete also includes new properties that make it suitable for a wide range of applications, as it is insulating, capable of forming delicate designs, and pressure-resistant. The fascination with the material is primarily due to the fact that when it is in a liquid state, the material can be made into any shape, but when it has hardened its resistance to pressure and solidness is almost comparable to that of steel. “Concretable” also demonstrates not only the current possibilities for using the material, but also sets out potential future developments in the fields of technology, construction and design.


Here the authors are mainly concerned with disseminating a new understanding of the material. It is light, emotive and versatile. In order to make designers and engineers more familiar with this new knowledge, they should be made aware of upcoming projects and supported in their own attempts to develop new technology. The authors see experimenting with the material and the production processes that go with it as a crucial factor in the further development of technical and aesthetic outcomes.


The book and its contents are based on research by the Façade Research Group at the Architecture Faculty at Delft University of Technology, in conjunction with the Detmolder Schule für Architektur und Innenarchitektur at the Hochschule Ostwestfalen Lippe.


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