Concrete Elegance is a celebration of recent, exemplary, concrete architecture, chaired by Elaine Toogood and produced by The Concrete Centre and The Building Centre.

Below are the projects discussed on Thursday 22 November 2017.

Prefabrication, reuse of existing structure and exposed high quality concrete surfaces are three very current approaches to concrete construction and are exemplified in the projects featured in this evenings Concrete Elegance lecture:  The Cancer Care Centre, Guy’s hospital, London by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners and Arup; Zeitz MOCAA (Museum of Contemporary Art Africa), Cape Town designed by Heatherwick Studio.

Projects will be presented by their architect and other key collaborators, sharing design development and construction experiences to create fine examples of contemporary concrete architecture.

Projects include: 

Cancer Care Centre, Guy’s hospital, London - presented by Leonardo Pelleriti, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, Gerardina Guarino, Arup & Eamonn Dolan, Laing O'Rourke Expanded

 © Mark Gorton/RSHP

This new Cancer Care Centre brings together all oncology services from across Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospital, integrating research and treatment services within the same building. 
A predominantly prefabricated approach to structure and cladding enabled the building to grow at a rate of a floor every week. But a speedy construction programme, although cost-efficient, wasn’t the only factor behind the choice of precast concrete for both frame and cladding on this tight triangular site near London Bridge station. The structure of the building had to be very stable and rigid to limit vibrations, as any movement could affect the performance of the specialist treatment equipment housed within it. The shear walls are expressed by concrete cladding externally, and the smooth concrete surfaces of the structure left exposed in the public spaces, to remain ‘ as natural as possible’.

Zeitz MOCAA (Museum of Contemporary Art Africa) - presented by Stepan Martinovsky, Heatherwick Studio.

©Mark Williams

Now a new museum for contemporary African art, the silo in Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront had at one point been the tallest building in South Africa. Transformed by Heatherwick Studio, the galleries and atrium space at the centre of the museum have been carved from the silos’ original dense cellular structure of forty-two round tubes that packed the building. Modelled on a single grain of corn, the atrium shape was scaled up to fill the 27-metre high volume and translated into thousands of coordinates. The concrete tubes were then lined with inner sleeves of reinforced concrete following the atrium shape and cut using handheld double disk saws. Raw concrete surfaces are revealed inside and out; the edges that have been sliced through are polished to create contrast with the black flint aggregate of the original concrete, sourced from nearby Table Mountain.