Concrete doesn’t always have to be boring! Numerous projects by renowned architects have highlighted the many possibilities of coloured concrete. The Lanxess “Colored Concrete Works” campaign’s examples of pioneering architecture show that dyed concrete is fashionable.
In harmonywith nature: The “Alp” Complex
The “Alp” complex lies in the center of Tokyo. It is surrounded by natural hills. The buildings are placed close together and differ in shape and roof size. Japanese architect Akihisa Hirata was faced with the challenge of achieving harmony between the buildings and their environment. In response to this, he used the unique topography as a starting point in shaping his conceptual design wherein, the buildings’ fractal structures and concave and convex surfaces merge imperceptibly to form its overall appearance. To combine the complex with the original landscape, he colored the concrete in a special shade of charcoal. In this way the architect created a setting that made both observers and residents aware of the direct closeness of the buildings to the forces of nature. The halls and corridors within resemble natural valleys. Light and ventilation flood into the lower levels and into the garden area.
It was particularly important to Hirata that the nature of the surfaces and the visual character of the concrete be retained. That would not have been possible had the color merely been applied externally. His choice therefore fell on permanent integral coloration. The benefit of this is the wide variety of hues and shades that can be obtained depending on the amount and combination of pigments added.
A home for art: Museum “Casa das Histórias Paula Rego”
Another, spectacular example is the museum “Casa das Histórias Paula Rego”. This structure in Cascais, Portugal shows how well, even very futuristic concrete constructions can be fitted into a natural landscape. Renowned artist Paula Rego selected star architect Eduardo Souto de Moura to design the museum that was to house her works. Some 3,800 cubic meters of concrete were used for the exhibition hall. The architect reinterprets the region’s historical method of construction in a modern style with the use of red concrete. The museum is considered to be one of the world’s most impressive exhibition buildings.
Super highway: Daum Kakao Space1
In cooperation with architect Minsuk Cho, the South Korean IT firm Daum Kakao has created Daum Kakao Space.1, a group headquarters building. It corresponds to the special business culture of Daum Kakao, while at the same time reflecting the special scenic features of the building’s environment on South Korea’s Jeju Island. The objective of the project was to recreate the horizontal work structures of the IT giant in physical terms. The long, narrow shape of the building over an area of 132,000sqm represents a kind of “Super Highway”. At the same time, an architectural superstructure divides the location into a rural and an urban area. While implementing the project, Minsuk Cho decided in favor of concrete through-dyed which in both material and color will give an authentic image of the typical attributes of the island’s volcanic rock. With its close-to-nature design, the environmental friendliness of this building material is just one of the positive contributions to the project’s image.