While concrete is often prized for its practical attributes rather than its aesthetic ones, precast concrete has produced some of the world’s most memorable and visually-striking architectural structures.
Moreover, concrete has proven to be a remarkably versatile building material, utilized for everything from single family homes to entire planned cities. For a better understanding of concrete and the potential it holds as a long-lasting and creatively engaging construction material, here are three excellent examples of architectural concrete structures that have stood the test of time.
Habitat 67 (Montreal, Quebec)
Designed by architect Moshe Safdie as part of his McGill University master’s thesis, Habitat 67 was intended as model housing complex and community building and was constructed to serve as a pavilion during 1967’s World’s Fair held in Montreal.
Habitat 67 utilizes over 350 uniform prefabricated concrete forms put together in a variety of combinations to form the overall 12-story structure. The complex was designed to bring together the benefits of urban and suburban living in one building.
Today, Habitat 67 is regarded as an important architectural landmark, and it has become one of Canada’s most significant and recognizable buildings.
Sydney Opera House (Sydney, Australia)
Probably the most famous opera house in the world and an iconic component of Australia’s tourism industry, the Sydney Opera House is a marvel constructed out of precast concrete.
Designed by a Danish architect, the building is known for its distinct roof – a series of 6 shell-like protrusions that arc towards the sky. Each shell is composed of precast concrete and covered in tile. The shells are supported by several precast concrete beams that run underneath them. It is probably one of the largest buildings that utilizes precast concrete as its primary feature.
The structure occupies nearly 4 acres of land of the southeastern shore of Australia. Contrary to popular belief, the Sydney Opera House actually features several performance venues.
Malietoren (The Hague, Netherlands)
The Malietoren (or Mali Tower) is a great example of how utilizing precast concrete can not only help you build a remarkable structure, but also overcome construction bottlenecks. The Malietoren is a 230 foot tower that is built over a section of road called the Utrechtsebaan. The building was designed in distinct stacks that server their own purposes: an entry floor, parking garage, 12 stories of offices, and mixed use space for retail and restaurant.
Complete in 1996, the Malietoren displays an exterior of steel and glass with a skeleton completely constructed out of precast concrete. Because it was positioned over a busy roadway, builders used precast crossbeams to start the foundation of the structure so as to not shut down the popular thoroughfare for construction.
Do you have an architectural project you need help with?
Let’s work together to make it great