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1he |mpact of d|scovery of g|ass, stee| and concrete on subsequent arch|tecture.

-aru| Ia|n


ConcreLe has been used ln bulldlng and consLrucLlon slnce 8oman Llmes (Lhe dome of Lhe
anLheon, whlch daLes from Au 123, was made from a form of concreLe). lL ls a composlLlon
LhaL can be easlly mlxed from sand,cemenL and sLone, and has Lhe poLenLlal Lo be boLh solld and
fluld (and so Lake any shape). lL ls a flexlble, malleable maLerlal LhaL can be mlxed Lo whaLever
conslsLency ls requlred. ConcreLe was once consldered an lndusLrlal, rough and bruLal maLerlal
LhaL was Lyplcally used Lo creaLe sLrucLure raLher Lhan a flnlshed surface and as such was
commonly assoclaLed wlLh lndusLrlal archlLecLure. Powever, changlng meLhods of consLrucLlon
have revealed concreLe as an lmporLanL maLerlal ln lLs own rlghL. As consLrucLlon Lechnlques
have become more reflned, exposed concreLe surfaces have become lncreaslngly popular ln
wlder archlLecLural appllcaLlons and wlLh sLeel relnforcemenL, concreLe can be lncredlbly sLrong,
whlch ls why lLs use ls favored for supersLrucLures such as brldges or skyscrapers.

ConcreLe can be pre-casL (poured ln a facLory), produclng prefabrlcaLed elemenLs LhaL can be
qulckly assembled on slLe for swlfL and slmple consLrucLlon. AlLernaLlvely, lL can be casL ln slLu
(on slLe), Lo creaLe a form or shape LhaL responds Lo a mould. 1hls flexlblllLy allows many
dynamlc forms and shapes Lo be achleved. 1he conLalner (or 'formwork') holds Lhe concreLe as
lL seLs and ln dolng so leaves an lmpresslon on Lhe surface of Lhe maLerlal.

As Lechnology develops, concreLe becomes ever more versaLlle, offerlng archlLecLs Lhe
posslblllLy Lo creaLe ever more dynamlc forms and shapes. 1hls releases Lhe poLenLlal for organlc
form ln archlLecLure and reveals concreLe's ablllLy Lo be subLle as well as sLrong. lL ls a Lruly
flexlble maLerlal of Lhe 21sL cenLury.

SLrucLural osslblllLles

ln Lhe laLe-18Lh and early-19Lh cenLury, Lhe lndusLrlal 8evoluLlon Lrlggered a new lnLeresL ln
englneerlng, lnnovaLlon, sLrucLure and form. 1he dlscovery and creaLlon of new maLerlals ln Lhls
perlod was Lo creaLe a new form of archlLecLure. ConcreLe offered Lhe archlLecL a maLerlal LhaL
could be moulded Lo form new shapes and one LhaL, when relnforced wlLh meLal, could be used
sLrucLurally Lo challenge ldeas of bulldlng form and scale. ln 1903, Lhe lngalls 8ulldlng was
consLrucLed ln ClnclnnaLl, Chlo, uSA. ueslgned by archlLecLs Llzner& Anderson lL was Lhe world's
flrsL (relnforced) skyscraper and lLs reallzaLlon was made posslble by Lhe use of relnforced
concreLe ln lLs consLrucLlon. 1he bulldlng was deslgned Lo house varlous offlce spaces and lLs
elevaLlon was ln a beaux-arLs sLyle.

AlLhough Lhe bulldlng's consLrucLlon embraced lnnovaLlve bulldlng Lechnlques, lLs appearance
was convenLlonal for Lhe era. 1he 20Lh cenLury was Lo see a new language of modern
archlLecLure develop and ModernlsL archlLecLs were Lo use concreLe as Lhelr maLerlal of cholce.
ConcreLe offered posslblllLles for a flexlble Lype of bulldlng shape and allowed deslgners Lo move
away from an archlLecLure deflned by decoraLlon Lo one of dynamlc spaces and fluld shapes.

1he new machlnes of Lhe 20Lh cenLury (such as alrshlps, alrplanes and cars) needed new
sLrucLures Lo house Lhem and Lhe modern facLorles of early 20Lh-cenLury Lurope commonly
used concreLe for Lhls purpose. 1hls produced an archlLecLure characLerlzed by an lndusLrlal
aesLheLlc and lL ls only ln recenL years LhaL Lhls bruLal sLyle has been challenged as new
Lechnlques and processes of manufacLure and creaLlng a more subLle Lype of concreLe. 1hese
lnnovaLlons mean LhaL concreLe ls no longer [usL a heavy, hard-wearlng englneerlng and bulldlng
maLerlal, lL has lLs own beauLy and characLer LhaL conLlnues Lo evolve as Lhe manufacLurlng
processes become ever more reflned.

unllke oLher consLrucLlon maLerlals, whlch may sLrongly connecL wlLh Lhe place of Lhelr orlgln,
concreLe ls made from lngredlenLs LhaL can now be mlxed anywhere. 1hls noL only makes lL
flexlble ln Lerms of manufacLure, buL also does noL resLrlcL Lhe maLerlal Lo a parLlcular locaLlon.
1hls affords concreLe a sense of anonymlLy, whlch means lL ls much less llmlLed by LradlLlonal
ldeas and concepLs Lhan oLher maLerlals: lL can be anyLhlng, anywhere. noLwlLhsLandlng Lhls,
Lhe use of concreLe ln archlLecLure ls (usually) sLlll lnformed by local ldeas of consLrucLlon, form,
funcLlon and oLher aspecLs of conLexL.

ConcreLe and Lhe era of Modernlsm

1he promlnenL ModernlsLs of Lhe early 20Lh cenLury, noLably Le Corbusler and AugusLeerreL,
explolLed Lhe flexlblllLy of concreLe Lo creaLe new forms and shapes. 1hey deslgned clLles for Lhe
fuLure LhaL conLalned sLrong, bold and Lall sLrucLures all made from concreLe.

AugusLe erreL (1874-1934) had Lhe prlorlLy of demonsLraLlng concreLe as a more Lhan
uLlllLarlan maLerlal. ln hls work he achleved a subsLanLlal advance ln Lhe use of concreLe, he
found an expresslon for relnforced concreLe for Lhls new maLerlal.

Pls famous block of flaLs aL 23 of Lhe 8ue lranklln ln arls, daLes from 1902 Lo 3, came Lo play a
mosL lmporLanL parL ln Lhe developmenL of archlLecLure. ln Lhls house he had hls offlce for many
years. 1he house was remarkable for Lhe way ln whlch Lhe archlLecL used Lhe relnforced
concreLe skeleLon for Lhe framework, Lhe floors and Lhe walls. 8y Lhls means he achleved a
hlLherLo unknown freedom of plannlng, as well as belng able Lo flll ln Lhe ouLer walls malnly wlLh
glass. 1he facade ls no longer LreaLed as Lhe surface of a cube, belng an open form so
consLrucLed as Lo creaLe an organlc whole wlLh Lhe skeleLon.

ConLemporary 21sL cenLury archlLecLure uses concreLe Lo creaLe ever Laller, more dramaLlc
sLaLemenLs. uanlel Llbesklnd, for example, speclfled Lhe use of concreLe ln hls deslgns for
8erlln's !ewlsh Museum Lo dramaLlze and accenLuaLe Lhe !ewlsh experlence ln warLlme
Cermany, produclng boLh a provocaLlve and commemoraLlve resulL
ConcreLe ls Lhe subsLance of our new bulldlngs, our greaLesL edlflces and our skyscrapers, and lL
wlll challenge Lhe fuLure of archlLecLural forms. ?eL even so, Lhe adapLaLlon of concreLe Lo
respond Lo local culLural and cllmaLlc lssues ls essenLlal for lLs survlval.

ConcreLe ls Lhe subsLance of our new bulldlngs, our greaLesL edlflces and our skyscrapers, and lL
wlll challenge Lhe fuLure of archlLecLural forms. ?eL even so, Lhe adapLaLlon of concreLe Lo
respond Lo local culLural and cllmaLlc lssues ls essenLlal for lLs survlval.

8orn ln Csaka, !apan ln 1941, 1adao Ando and hlsdeslgns have been heavlly lnfluenced by 20Lh-
cenLuryModernlsm. Ando creaLes spaces LhaL pay parLlcularaLLenLlon Lo Lhe way ln whlch llghL ls
conLrolled wlLhlnLhem and Lhe way ln whlch Lhey work ln harmony wlLhnaLure. 1hls ls
commonly achleved vla framlng vlews andconnecLlng Lhe lnslde space of hls bulldlngs wlLh
Lhelrurban or rural exLerlor landscape. Pls deslgnssuccessfully comblne !apanese culLural
senslLlvlLy wlLhan undersLandlng of Luropean modernlsm.
Ando ls an archlLecL who undersLands how and when Lo use concreLe. lL can ofLen be LhoughL of
as a dense andoppresslve maLerlal. Powever, Lhrough careful use ofopenlngs LhaL allow naLural
llghL Lo flood ln hls deslgns, Ando creaLes a sense of conLrasL beLween Lhe heavlness of Lhe
maLerlal and Lhe energy and brlghLness of sunllghL. Pls archlLecLure celebraLes Lhe use of
concreLe as a crafLedmaLerlal casL ln slLu. 1he process of casLlng and Lhe flnlsh of Lhe surface
creaLe bulldlngs LhaL have a splrlLual sense of place deflned by subsLance and llghLness.

Whlle Croplus and Le Corbusler made ample use of relnforced concreLe, pure glass-and-
sLeel consLrucLlon ln Lhe lnLernaLlonal sLyle was perfecLed by Mlesvander8ohe(anoLher dlrecLor
of Lhe 8auhaus), who belleved so flrmly ln ellmlnaLlng all embelllshmenL LhaL hls guldlng
prlnclple was slmply "less ls more". Mles broughL Lhe lnLernaLlonal sLyle Lo Lhe helghL of lLs
lnfluence, as descendanLs of hls glass-and-sLeel skyscrapers appeared ln every corner of Lhe
globe. (Modern ArchlLecLure)

use of Class and SLeel

Class and sLeel represenLs a manufacLured form of archlLecLure, Lhese maLerlals LhaL are
frequenLly used ln conLemporary archlLecLure Lo produce bulldlngs LhaL are boLh funcLlonal and
pracLlcal. ?eL Lhe aesLheLlc posslblllLles wlLh glass and sLeel are lmpresslve and Lhe archlLecLure
LhaL uLlllzes Lhese maLerlals can become almosL lnvlslble ,framlng vlews of landscape or sky or
LransporL us Lo Lhe helghL of a blrd soarlng above a clLy.

8efore Lhe use of sLeel ln archlLecLure become commonplace Lhe welghL of Lhe bulldlng maLerlal
and forces of gravlLy and compresslon deflned a sLrucLure and lLs archlLecLural posslblllLles.
Advances ln Lhe use of sLeel frame forms broughL wlLh lL a new concepLual way of Lhlnklng
abouL sLrucLures. As sLeel has Lenslle sLrengLh, lL allows new sLrucLural sysLems such as
canLllevers and far reachlng aesLheLlc posslblllLles such as gravlLy-defylng skyscrapers Lo be
developed.

LxperLs belleve LhaL Lhe anclenL Syrlans dlscovered glass maklng probably around 3000bc. Syrlan
glass was a slmple melLed mlxLure of soda ash, llme and sand. PlsLorlcally Lhe appllcaLlon of
glass ln archlLecLure has llmlLed by Lhe manufacLurlng Lechnlques used Lo produce lL buL as Llme
have allowed glass Lo be used ln lnnovaLlve appllcaLlons and for sLrucLural purposes ln
conLemporary archlLecLure.

A plvoLal polnL ln conLemporary archlLecLural deslgn and glass and sLeel consLrucLlon Lechnology
was Lhe reallzaLlon of [oseph paxLon's crysLal palace. lL was erecLed ln London's Pyde park Lo
house Lhe greaL exhlblLlon of 1831 and broughL LogeLher lnnovaLlon ln maLerlals, consLrucLlon
and manufacLurlng. axLon,s crysLal palace represenLs one of Lhe earllesL examples of a
Lemporary prefabrlcaLed sLrucLure.as parL of modernlsL aesLheLlc, glass and sLeel have
commonly been assoclaLed wlLh one anoLher. 1he comblnaLlon of boLh maLerlals brlngs boLh
sLrengLh and dellcacy Lo archlLecLure ,a sLeel frame can appear qulLe llghL and slender when
comblned wlLh Lhe Lransparency of a glass wall. lnlLlally glass and sLeel were used ln parLlcular
for large, open plan, lndusLrlal archlLecLural appllcaLlons buL advances ln maLerlal Lechnology
have generaLed a greaLer posslblllLles for Lhe use of boLh maLerlals.

SLeel frames and flnlshes

1he advanLage LhaL sLeel brlngs Lo archlLecLure ls lLs sLrengLh, a relaLlvely slender sLeel sLrucLure
can supporL numerous floor levels and, when comblned wlLh relnforced concreLe, sLeel frames
make ever Laller sLrucLures achlevable. 1he proposed super-Lall Al 8ur[ uubal Lower, for
example, ls lnLended Lo be over 1200 meLres hlgh and Lhls prospecL ls only achlevable by Lhe
sLrucLure's framework. SLeel frames are ofLen now vlslble on boLh Lhe lnslde and ouLslde of
bulldlngs as parL of Lhe expresslon of Lhe archlLecLural ldea or concepL. SLeel and oLher meLal
flnlshes are now an lmporLanL conslderaLlon for Lhe archlLecL. Wllllam van Alen's Chrysler
8ulldlng (1928-1930), for example, ls a classlc example of how meLal claddlng can be used ln
consLrucLlon Lo greaL effecL.

use of glass
lor Lhe archlLecL, one of Lhe mosL lmporLanL properLles and key advanLages of speclfylng Lhe
use of glass ls lLs Lransparency: lL allows llghL lnLo a space. 1he llmlLlng facLors wlll be Lhe welghL
and slze of Lhe glass pleces, as Lhese could resLrlcL boLh manufacLure and LransporL Lo slLe.
1he use of glass ln bulldlng deslgn need no longer be resLrlcLed Lo wlndows - lL can also be used
sLrucLurally Loo.

8elnforced glazed pleces can be used as floor panels or sLalr Lreads and glazed sLrucLural
columns (or flns) can be used Lo supporL glass walls. lor example, Lhe Apple sLore ln new ?ork,
deslgned by 8ohllnCywlnskl !ackson, uses glass walls and sLrucLural elemenLs Lo creaLe a
compleLely LransparenL archlLecLure. Class ls also frequenLly used Lo consLrucL curLaln walls -
non-load-bearlng faades LhaL are drawn across a bulldlng (much llke a curLaln) and aLLached Lo
Lhe fronL of Lhe sLrucLure uslng speclallsL flxLures.

As well as sLrucLural uses, glass can be LreaLed so LhaL lL can be applled as a flnlsh, perhaps Lo
creaLe a decoraLlve panel lnslde a bulldlng or Lo produce exLerlor claddlng. A range of processes
can alLer Lhe properLles and appearance of glass. for example, lL can be sandblasLed, screen-
prlnLed or have maLerlals applled Lo lLs surface Lo modlfy lLs opaclLy, or lL may have layers of
Llmber or meLal applled Lo lL Lo alLer Lhe way ln whlch llghL lnLeracLs wlLh Lhe glass. Class has
become an lmporLanL layer ln Lhe deslgn process and manlpulaLlng lL can change Lhe experlence
of how llghL enLers (or exlLs) a bulldlng or space, whlch can dramaLlcally affecL Lhe whole
archlLecLural scheme.

When archlLecLs respond Lo a bulldlng brlef conLexL ls a prlmary conslderaLlon. SLeel and glass
archlLecLure has evolved dramaLlcally from 19
Lh
cenLury orlglns Lo Lhe lncredlble helghLs of
Lodays skyscraplng posslblllLles buL LhroughouL lL has always been consldered and archlLecLure
of Lhe fuLure.
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