The CONCRETE Times • APR 2015 FEATURE EXPOSING UNDER USE OF CONCRETE IT’S A SAD FACT - DECORATIVE CONCRETE AND, IN PARTICULAR, EXPOSED AGGREGATE CONCRETE, IS STILL SPECIFIED IN CONTINENTAL EUROPE FAR MORE THAN IN THE UK. 10 The steps, wall, flatwork and loose aggregates shown in the photographs (see right and directly below) were found recently in an ‘aire de repo’ (translation - rest area) off a motorway in south-west France and are typical of the use of concrete in many countries in Europe. In this example, precast and wet pour have been combined very effectively and are set off superbly by the decorative aggregates to produce a very attractive and highly durable commercial paving and walling scheme. Exposed aggregate, in particular, is widely used in Europe as paving outside of stores in shopping mall areas, even as pavement and even road surfaces in many towns and villages whereas in the UK, we are more likely to see tarmac or, at best, some block paving, far too often very poorly maintained. The close up photograph (see bottom right) was taken outside a hotel entrance in Italy and illustrates the creative possibilities of combining exposed aggregate concrete with strips of dressed stone used as pour breaks, thus effectiveky masking the control joints. These installations are a perfect example of the investor, whether a council, private company or a service company, taking a long-term view and investing in quality paving that is more expensive in the short term, but cheaper in the longer run, as not only will concrete in such installations outlast tarmac by a multiple of years, but will also be more pleasing on the eye and dissipate instead of attracting heat due to it’s lighter colour (the applications, pictured above and left, used white cement). By promoting schemes such as these to UK architects, we could, as an industry, see a considerable growth in concrete volumes year on year. There has never been a better time - technical developments in mix design combined with large investments by the industry, are proving that concrete is actually a very sound ecological choice.
The Concrete Times April 2015
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