Designing with Concrete in the 21st Century

Concrete is a rather ubiquitous, tested, proven, and versatile building material. It has been used for thousands of years to create long-lasting man-made structures of all types, including buildings. Architects in the past few centuries have found it to be an appealing choice to express dynamic and vibrant designs in ways that other materials could not. The ability to structurally reinforce concrete and form it into custom, free-flowing shapes can give it an organic quality that is different from most other materials. This can produce more design freedom and the ability to incorporate unique and custom features into a building as part of the basic construction process.

It is not surprising then that new technologies, techniques, and design approaches have been developed that allow architects to think and design with concrete in ways that are even more creative, structurally efficient, sustainable, and cost effective. It is also common to couple the technical knowledge of concrete with the ability to design in three dimensions using building information modeling or similar design software to create award-winning and stunning facilities. Some architects even attest that their careers have not only been made possible but have flourished through this combination.

Learning Objectives

  1. Explore the historical and contemporary evolution of concrete and its use as a key building material.
  2. Investigate the design issues related to using concrete as a durable and long-lasting primary building material.
  3. Asses design strategies related to creating buildings that can be innovative in shape and form and meet structural and code requirements.
  4. Identify the role that design software and building information modeling can play in achieving exceptional concrete building designs.