Archive for the 'Concrete' Category

10
Feb
10

Oscar Niemeyer

Oscar Ribeiro de Almeida Niemeyer Soares Filho (born December 15, 1907) is a Brazilian architect who is considered one of the most important names in international modern architecture. He was a pioneer in exploring the formal possibilities of reinforced concrete solely for their aesthetic impact.

His buildings are often characterized by being spacious and exposed, mixing volumes and empty space to create unconventional patterns and often propped up by pilotis. Both lauded and criticized for being a “sculptor of monuments” , he has been praised for being a great artist and one of the greatest architects of his generation by his supporters. Among his numerous famous works there are the many public buildings he designed for the city of Brasília, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, The United Nations Headquarters in New York City (with others), etc.

“ Not the straight angle that attracts me, nor straight, hard, inflexible, created by man. What attracts me is the free and sensual curve, the curves that find in the mountains of my country, in the course of its winding rivers, the sea waves, the body of the woman preferred. Curves is done throughout the universe, the universe of Einstein’s curved.

Oscar Niemeyer was born in the city of Rio de Janeiro in 1907 in Laranjeiras neighbourhood, on a street that later would receive the name of his grandfather Ribeiro de Almeida. He spent his youth as a typical young Carioca of the time: bohemian and relatively unconcerned with his future. He concluded his secondary education at age 21. The same year, he married Annita Baldo, daughter of Italian immigrants from Padua. Marriage gave him a sense of responsibility: he decided to work and enter university.

He started to work in his father’s typography house and entered the Escola de Belas Artes (Brazil), from which he graduated as engineer architect in 1934. At the time he had financial difficulties but decided to work without fee anyway, in the architecture studio of Lúcio Costa and Carlos Leão. He felt dissatisfied with the architecture that he saw in the streets and believed he could find a career there.

In 1945, already an architect of some repute, he joined the Brazilian Communist Party, and in 1992 he would become president of that party. Niemeyer was a boy at the time of the Russian Revolution of 1917, and by the Second World War he became a young idealist. He is still an enthusiastic communist, a position which cost him much during his life. During the military dictatorship of Brazil his office was raided and he was forced into exile in Europe. The Minister of Aeronautics of the time reportedly said that “the place for a communist architect is Moscow.” He visited the USSR, met with diverse socialist leaders and became a personal friend of some of them. Fidel Castro once said: “Niemeyer and I are the last Communists of this planet.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oscar_Niemeyer

20
Jan
10

Concrete Spalling

Concrete spalling is caused by the exposure of the concrete to high temperatures. Spalling itself is actually the deterioration of the concrete causing chunks of the concrete to separate from the concrete structure. Some of the most common concrete spalling causes are fire and high pressure. In normal concrete structures, spalling is very rare. However, in high performance concrete structures like tunnels, concrete spalling causes and spalling are much more common. A car fire in a tunnel or just the sheer force of the pressure of the water or earth above the tunnel can be concrete spalling causes.

The prevention of concrete spalling causes comes in the beginning of the concrete application process. The best way to prevent spalling is simply to use good concrete and to have it applied correctly. Then follow up with a good, reliable finishing technique. By taking the initiative and getting good products from the start, you can easily prevent concrete spalling causes. If you have concrete that is still looking good, you can always protect it; and if you have concrete that already has signs of concrete spalling, you can solve those problems.

Concrete Spalling Causes and Solutions

Water repelling sealants for your concrete are the best way to protect a well-laid concrete fixture. Make sure that the sealants you buy have either silanes or siloxanes in them, or have a combination of the two. These chemicals will not form a waxy film like other sealants, and therefore will better protect your concrete. But since concrete spalling causes are not water-related, you are not protecting against the causes themselves, only against the likelihood of spalling in the event of fire or intense structural stress.

04
Jan
10

Tadao Ando


Tadao Ando (安藤 忠雄, Andō Tadao, born September 13, 1941, in Osaka, Japan) is a Japanese architect whose approach to architecture was once categorized as critical regionalism. Ando has led a storied life, working as a truck driver and boxer prior to settling on the profession of architecture, despite never having taken formal training in the field.

He works primarily in exposed cast-in-place concrete and is renowned for an exemplary craftsmanship which invokes a Japanese sense of materiality, junction and spatial narrative through the pared aesthetics of international modernism.

In 1969, he established the firm Tadao Ando Architects & Associates. In 1995, Ando won the Pritzker Architecture Prize, considered the highest distinction in the field of architecture. He donated the $100,000 prize money to the orphans of the 1995 Kobe earthquake.

referenced from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tadao_Ando

30
Dec
09

Augueste Perret

Auguste Perret (12 February 1874 – 25 February 1954) was a French architect and a world leader and specialist in reinforced concrete construction. In 2005 his post-WWII reconstruction of Le Havre was declared by UNESCO one of the World Heritage Sites.

He was born in Ixelles, Belgium. He was the brother of the architect Gustave Perret.

He worked on a new interpretation of the neo-classical style. He continued to carry the banner of nineteenth century rationalism after Viollet-le-Duc. His efforts to utilize historical typologies executed in new materials were largely eclipsed by the younger media-savvy architect Le Corbusier, Perret’s one-time employee, and his ilk.

From 1940 Perret taught at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. He won the Royal Gold Medal in 1948 and the AIA Gold Medal in 1952.

Work
Rue Franklin apartments, Paris, 1902-1904
Garage Ponthieu, Paris, 1905
the Art Nouveau landmark Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Paris, 1913
the Concert Hall of the École Normale de Musique de Paris
concrete cathedral in Le Raincy, France, Église Notre-Dame du Raincy, 1923, with stained-glass work by Marie-Alain Couturier
extensions to the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris, 1945
the City Hall, St. Joseph’s Church and further reconstruction of the French city of Le Havre after more than 80,000 inhabitants of that city were left homeless following World War II, 1949-1956
the Gare d’Amiens, 1955
the villa Aghion, in Alexandria (destroyed 28 August 2009)

referenced from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auguste_Perret

09
Dec
09

Notre Dame du Haut de Ronchamp

Informally known as “Ronchamp”, the chapel of Notre Dame du Haut in Ronchamp (French: Chapelle Notre-Dame-du-Haut de Ronchamp), completed in 1954, is one of the finest examples of the architecture of Franco-Swiss architect Le Corbusier and one of the most important examples of twentieth-century religious architecture.

Site
The site is high on a hill near Belfort in eastern France. There had been a pilgrimage chapel on the site dedicated to the Virgin Mary, but it was destroyed during the Second World War. After the war, it was decided to rebuild on the same site. The Chapelle Notre-Dame-du-Haut, a shrine for the Roman Catholic Church at Ronchamp, France was built for a reformist Church looking to continue its relevance. Warning against decadence, reformers within the Church looked to renew its spirit by embracing modern art and architecture as representative concepts. Father Marie-Alain Couturier, who would also sponsor Le Corbusier for the La Tourette commission, steered the unorthodox project to completion in 1954.

The chapel at Ronchamp is singular in Corbusier’s oeuvre, in that it departs from his principles of standardisation and the machine aesthetic, giving in instead to a site-specific response. By Le Corbusier’s own admission, it was the site that provided an irresistible genius loci for the response, with the horizon visible on all four sides of the hill and its historical legacy for centuries as a place of worship.

This historical legacy was woven in different layers into the terrain – from the Romans and sun-worshippers before them, to a cult of the Virgin in the Middle Ages, right through to the modern church and the fight against the German occupation. Le Corbusier also sensed a sacred relationship of the hill with its surroundings – the Jura mountains in the distance and the hill itself, dominating the landscape.

The nature of the site would result in an architectural ensemble that has many similarities with the Acropolis – starting from the ascent at the bottom of the hill to architectural and landscape events along the way, before finally terminating at the sanctus sanctorum itself – the chapel. You cannot see the building until you reach nearly the crest of the hill. From the top, magnificent vistas spread out in all directions.

Structure
The structure is made mostly of concrete and is comparatively small, enclosed by thick walls, with the upturned roof supported on columns embedded within the walls, like a sail billowing in the windy currents on the hill top. The Christian Church sees itself as the ship of God, bringing safety and salvation to followers. In the interior, the spaces left between the walls and roof and filled with clerestory windows, as well as the asymmetric light from the wall openings, serve to further reinforce the sacred nature of the space and reinforce the relationship of the building with its surroundings. The lighting in the interior is soft and indirect, from the clerestory windows and reflecting off the whitewashed walls of the chapels with projecting towers.

The structure is built mostly of concrete and stone, which was a remnant of the original chapel built on the hilltop site destroyed during World War II. Some have described Ronchamp as the first Post-Modern building. It was constructed in the early 1950s.

The main part of the structure consists of two concrete membranes separated by a space of 6’11”, forming a shell which constitutes the roof of the building. This roof, both insulating and watertight, is supported by short struts, which form part of a vertical surface of concrete covered with “gunite” and which, in addition, brace the walls of old Vosges stone provided by the former chapel which was destroyed by the bombings. These walls which are without buttresses follow, in plan, the curvilinear forms calculated to provide stability to this rough masonry. A space of several centimeters between the shell of the roof and the vertical envelope of the walls furnishes a significant entry for daylight. The floor of the chapel follows the natural slope of the hill down towards the altar. Certain parts, in particular those upon which the interior and exterior altars rest, are of beautiful white stone from Bourgogne, as are the altars themselves. The towers are constructed of stone masonry and are capped by cement domes. The vertical elements of the chapel are surfaced with mortar sprayed on with a cement gun and then white-washed – both on the interior and exterior. The concrete shell of the roof is left rough, just as it comes from the formwork. Watertightness is effected by a built-up roofing with an exterior cladding of aluminium. The interior the walls are white; the ceiling grey; the bench of African wood created by Savina; the communion bench is of cast iron made by the foundries of the Lure.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Notre_Dame_du_Haut

08
Dec
09

Einstein Tower

“Erich Mendelsohn’s small, but powerfully modeled tower, built to symbolize the greatness of the Einsteinian concepts, was also a quite functional house. It was designed to hold Einstein’s own astronomical laboratory… Mendelsohn was after a completely plastic kind of building, moulded rather than built, without angles and with smooth, rounded corners. He needed a malleable material like reinforced concrete, which could be made to curve and create its own surface plasticity, but due to post-war shortages, some parts had to be in brick and others in concrete. So the total external effect was obtained by rendering the surface material. Even so, this ‘sarcophagus of architectural Expressionism’ is one of the most brilliantly original buildings of the twentieth century.”

— Dennis Sharp. Twentieth Century Architecture: a Visual History. p65.

Architect: Erich Mendelsohn
Location: near Potsdam, Germany map
Date: 1919 to 1921
Building Type: laboratory, observatory
Construction System: bearing masonry, concrete over brick
Climate: temperate
Context: suburban
Style: Expressionist Early Modern
Notes: Curvaceous, streamlined form