Architecture

Gallery: Modern architecture that highlights the rugged beauty of concrete

This stunning house, by KWK Promes, is one of the projects highlighted in our look at concrete architecture
This stunning house, by KWK Promes, is one of the projects highlighted in our look at concrete architecture
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Planar House is topped by a concrete roof that's covered in greenery and designed to blend in with its landscaped garden
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Planar House is topped by a concrete roof that's covered in greenery and designed to blend in with its landscaped garden
Planar House's interior decor is a simple but stylish mixture of wood, concrete and glass
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Planar House's interior decor is a simple but stylish mixture of wood, concrete and glass
Planar House measures 1,000 sq m (10,760 sq ft)
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Planar House measures 1,000 sq m (10,760 sq ft)
Planar House includes a living and dining area, as well as an outdoor kitchen on its terrace
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Planar House includes a living and dining area, as well as an outdoor kitchen on its terrace
Planar House is located in Porto Feliz, São Paulo, Brazil
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Planar House is located in Porto Feliz, São Paulo, Brazil
Capital Hill Residence is the only private home designed by Zaha Hadid to ever be completed 
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Capital Hill Residence is the only private home designed by Zaha Hadid to ever be completed 
Capital Hill Residence was conceived in 2006 for a wealthy Russian businessman 
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Capital Hill Residence was conceived in 2006 for a wealthy Russian businessman 
Capital Hill Residence's most eye-catching feature is its master bedroom suite that's raised on a skinny pillar above the 20 m (65 ft)-high trees that surround the house
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Capital Hill Residence's most eye-catching feature is its master bedroom suite that's raised on a skinny pillar above the 20 m (65 ft)-high trees that surround the house
The concrete and glass Capital Hill Residence is classic Hadid: bold, unique, and sure to be divisive, it looks like some kind of futuristic spaceship has landed amongst the greenery
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The concrete and glass Capital Hill Residence is classic Hadid: bold, unique, and sure to be divisive, it looks like some kind of futuristic spaceship has landed amongst the greenery
Much of the 2,650 sq m (28,524 sq ft) Capital Hill Residence is carved into the hillside
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Much of the 2,650 sq m (28,524 sq ft) Capital Hill Residence is carved into the hillside
La Casa H, by Felipe Assadi Arquitectos, is built into the hills of the coastal town of Zapallar and is constructed around a set of four massive reinforced concrete beams
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La Casa H, by Felipe Assadi Arquitectos, is built into the hills of the coastal town of Zapallar and is constructed around a set of four massive reinforced concrete beams
La Casa H features an impressive 7 m (23 ft) cantilever that shelters balcony spaces around the perimeter
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La Casa H features an impressive 7 m (23 ft) cantilever that shelters balcony spaces around the perimeter
La Casa H frames views towards the Pacific 
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La Casa H frames views towards the Pacific 
Beneath the upper floor of La Casa H
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Beneath the upper floor of La Casa H
La Casa H is built into hills around the coastal town of Zapallar,  leaning on a set of four reinforced concrete beams running the length of the structure
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La Casa H is built into hills around the coastal town of Zapallar,  leaning on a set of four reinforced concrete beams running the length of the structure
M4 Metro Line Budapest was designed by FŐMTERV-PALATIUM-UVATERV - Consortium with Palatium Studio, Budapesti Építőművészet Műhely, Gelesz és Lenzsér, Puhl és Dajka, sporaarchitects, and VPI Studi
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M4 Metro Line Budapest was designed by FŐMTERV-PALATIUM-UVATERV - Consortium with Palatium Studio, Budapesti Építőművészet Műhely, Gelesz és Lenzsér, Puhl és Dajka, sporaarchitects, and VPI Studi
M4 Metro Line Budapest was recently recognized as one of the best new buildings by RIBA's Awards for International Excellence
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M4 Metro Line Budapest was recently recognized as one of the best new buildings by RIBA's Awards for International Excellence
M4 Metro Line Budapest came about following an architectural competition
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M4 Metro Line Budapest came about following an architectural competition
M4 Metro Line Budapest is a beautiful example of large-scale concrete architecture
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M4 Metro Line Budapest is a beautiful example of large-scale concrete architecture
Architects Palatium Studio, who won the competition for the M4 Metro Line Budapest, took the unusual decision to share the project with the runners-up plus other designers and artists
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Architects Palatium Studio, who won the competition for the M4 Metro Line Budapest, took the unusual decision to share the project with the runners-up plus other designers and artists
Binh House is designed by Vietnam's Vo Trong Nghia Architects to keep three generations of the same family naturally cool in tropical Ho Chi Minh City
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Binh House is designed by Vietnam's Vo Trong Nghia Architects to keep three generations of the same family naturally cool in tropical Ho Chi Minh City
Binh House has a total floorspace of 233 sq m (2,507 sq ft), spread over three floors
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Binh House has a total floorspace of 233 sq m (2,507 sq ft), spread over three floors
Binh House's carefully designed interior layout is designed to allow each member of the family some privacy, though sight lines ensure a visual connection to most areas
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Binh House's carefully designed interior layout is designed to allow each member of the family some privacy, though sight lines ensure a visual connection to most areas
Binh House's concrete is softened by the addition of greenery
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Binh House's concrete is softened by the addition of greenery
Binh House includes planters that provide privacy for an outdoor jacuzzi spa
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Binh House includes planters that provide privacy for an outdoor jacuzzi spa
The Gijang Waveon cafe in Gijang, South Korea, was designed by Heesoo Kwak and IDMM Architects
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The Gijang Waveon cafe in Gijang, South Korea, was designed by Heesoo Kwak and IDMM Architects
With the Gijang Waveon cafe, Heesoo Kwak and IDMM Architects designed three angular concrete forms, each connected with a ramp, to ensure as many customers as possible could gaze toward the sea
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With the Gijang Waveon cafe, Heesoo Kwak and IDMM Architects designed three angular concrete forms, each connected with a ramp, to ensure as many customers as possible could gaze toward the sea
The Gijang Waveon cafe's interior features ample glazing, which frames the view at multiple angles 
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The Gijang Waveon cafe's interior features ample glazing, which frames the view at multiple angles 
The Gijang Waveon cafe's concrete structure is peppered in places with Swiss cheese-like holes, echoing eroded seaside rocks
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The Gijang Waveon cafe's concrete structure is peppered in places with Swiss cheese-like holes, echoing eroded seaside rocks
The Gijang Waveon cafe measures 500 sq m (5,381 sq ft)
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The Gijang Waveon cafe measures 500 sq m (5,381 sq ft)
This stunning house, by KWK Promes, is one of the projects highlighted in our look at concrete architecture
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This stunning house, by KWK Promes, is one of the projects highlighted in our look at concrete architecture
Only one corner of Konieczny's Ark touches the ground
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Only one corner of Konieczny's Ark touches the ground
When it rains, Konieczny's Ark becomes surrounded by water, so access is gained by a drawbridge
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When it rains, Konieczny's Ark becomes surrounded by water, so access is gained by a drawbridge
The interior of Konieczny's Ark frames views of the beautiful Polish countryside
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The interior of Konieczny's Ark frames views of the beautiful Polish countryside
Local grazing animals have made Konieczny's Ark a home for themselves and sometimes take shelter under it 
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Local grazing animals have made Konieczny's Ark a home for themselves and sometimes take shelter under it 
Peru's Universidad de Ingeniería y Tecnología (UTEC) was designed by Grafton Architects
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Peru's Universidad de Ingeniería y Tecnología (UTEC) was designed by Grafton Architects
UTEC was likened to a modern-day Machu Picchu by RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) when the project won the inaugural RIBA International Prize back in 2016
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UTEC was likened to a modern-day Machu Picchu by RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) when the project won the inaugural RIBA International Prize back in 2016
The unusual design of UTEC allows for terraced landscapes and nooks for students to use, while also providing ample shading
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The unusual design of UTEC allows for terraced landscapes and nooks for students to use, while also providing ample shading
UTEC is conceived as a concrete cliff, with larger sections such as meeting spaces placed nearest the ground, and teaching spaces and administration offices positioned on the higher levels
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UTEC is conceived as a concrete cliff, with larger sections such as meeting spaces placed nearest the ground, and teaching spaces and administration offices positioned on the higher levels
 UTEC is located on the edge of a ravine in the Barranco district of Peru's capital Lima
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 UTEC is located on the edge of a ravine in the Barranco district of Peru's capital Lima
MeMo House, by Bam! Arquitectura, responds to a green-fingered client's wishes for maximum garden space in a cramped plot 
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MeMo House, by Bam! Arquitectura, responds to a green-fingered client's wishes for maximum garden space in a cramped plot 
MeMo House comprises 215 sq m (2,314 sq ft) of usable floorspace
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MeMo House comprises 215 sq m (2,314 sq ft) of usable floorspace
MeMo House's interior looks fantastic, providing you're a big fan of exposed concrete
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MeMo House's interior looks fantastic, providing you're a big fan of exposed concrete
MeMo House boasts some sustainable design, including solar power and rainwater collection
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MeMo House boasts some sustainable design, including solar power and rainwater collection
MeMo House opens up to the outside with multiple sliding doors and windows and their layout has been carefully calculated to promote cross-ventilation, minimizing air-conditioner needs
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MeMo House opens up to the outside with multiple sliding doors and windows and their layout has been carefully calculated to promote cross-ventilation, minimizing air-conditioner needs
Britain's Trellick Tower, by Ernő Goldfinger,  is a notable example of Brutalist architecture (Credit: Flickr user Ben B) 
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Britain's Trellick Tower, by Ernő Goldfinger,  is a notable example of Brutalist architecture (Credit: Flickr user Ben B
Planar House is topped by a concrete roof that's covered in greenery and designed to blend in with its landscaped garden
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Planar House is topped by a concrete roof that's covered in greenery and designed to blend in with its landscaped garden
Casa Brutale  started out as an exercise in conceptual architecture but was spotted online by a wealthy CEO and is now bring built 
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Casa Brutale  started out as an exercise in conceptual architecture but was spotted online by a wealthy CEO and is now bring built 
Casa Brutale is the work of Greece and Netherlands-based OPA (Open Platform for Architecture)
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Casa Brutale is the work of Greece and Netherlands-based OPA (Open Platform for Architecture)
Casa Brutale will be built into a mountainside in the Faqra mountainside, outside Beirut, Lebanon
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Casa Brutale will be built into a mountainside in the Faqra mountainside, outside Beirut, Lebanon
Casa Brutale's concrete structure will be topped by a swimming pool 
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Casa Brutale's concrete structure will be topped by a swimming pool 
Casa Brutale is clearly influenced by the classic Brutalist architecture works
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Casa Brutale is clearly influenced by the classic Brutalist architecture works
Heatherwick Studio recently took the wraps off a new £30 million (around US$40 million) museum in Cape Town, South Africa named the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) 
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Heatherwick Studio recently took the wraps off a new £30 million (around US$40 million) museum in Cape Town, South Africa named the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) 
Zeitz MOCAA  involved transforming an existing grain silo into the country's largest art museum
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Zeitz MOCAA  involved transforming an existing grain silo into the country's largest art museum
Zeitz MOCAA 's structure was originally built in the 1920s on Cape Town's V&A Waterfront
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Zeitz MOCAA 's structure was originally built in the 1920s on Cape Town's V&A Waterfront
Zeitz MOCAA  comprises a grading tower and 42 individual concrete tubes inside
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Zeitz MOCAA  comprises a grading tower and 42 individual concrete tubes inside
Heatherwick Studio carved the concrete tubes already present in Zeitz MOCAA to produce a stunning, almost cathedral-like work 
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Heatherwick Studio carved the concrete tubes already present in Zeitz MOCAA to produce a stunning, almost cathedral-like work 
Few architects have wielded concrete as effectively as Zaha Hadid and this example, the  Heydar Aliyev Center, is one of her finest
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Few architects have wielded concrete as effectively as Zaha Hadid and this example, the  Heydar Aliyev Center, is one of her finest
The Heydar Aliyev Center has a novel concrete structure and space frame system
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The Heydar Aliyev Center has a novel concrete structure and space frame system
Zaha Hadid Architects made use of glass fiber reinforced concrete to achieve the Heydar Aliyev Center's fluid lines 
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Zaha Hadid Architects made use of glass fiber reinforced concrete to achieve the Heydar Aliyev Center's fluid lines 
The Heydar Aliyev Center is located in Baku, Azerbaijan
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The Heydar Aliyev Center is located in Baku, Azerbaijan
The Heydar Aliyev Center comprises an auditorium, gallery hall, and museum, spread over a total floorspace of 57,506 sq m (619,000 sq ft)
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The Heydar Aliyev Center comprises an auditorium, gallery hall, and museum, spread over a total floorspace of 57,506 sq m (619,000 sq ft)

Concrete is a ubiquitous, often unremarkable, building material but in the right hands, it can be sculpted into truly special architectural works. Join us as we celebrate some of the best recent uses of concrete we've seen.

Sublime concrete architecture is by no means new, of course – the Romans were perfecting the art thousands of years ago. More recently, the Brutalist movement, which valued exposed concrete and bold, uncompromising forms, produced some of the world's most influential concrete architecture. Projects like Le Corbusier's Unité d'Habitation in Marseille and London's Trellick Tower, by Ernő Goldfinger, pictured below, are two famous high points.

Britain's Trellick Tower, by Ernő Goldfinger,  is a notable example of Brutalist architecture (Credit: Flickr user Ben B) 
Britain's Trellick Tower, by Ernő Goldfinger,  is a notable example of Brutalist architecture (Credit: Flickr user Ben B

While the projects we're covering aren't all inspired by Brutalism – the only thing they all share is a notable use of concrete – Chile's La Casa H, by Felipe Assadi Arquitectos, clearly is. Built into the hills of the coastal town of Zapallar, the residence is arranged around four reinforced concrete beams running the length of the structure. It's not for everyone, but for fans of the style, it's a treat.

La Casa H frames views towards the Pacific 
La Casa H frames views towards the Pacific 

Whereas Casa H boldly contrasts with its environment, Brazil's Planar House, by MK27 architects, aims for the opposite effect. This concrete pad is topped by a massive green roof that helps it blend in with the surrounding garden.

Planar House is topped by a concrete roof that's covered in greenery and designed to blend in with its landscaped garden
Planar House is topped by a concrete roof that's covered in greenery and designed to blend in with its landscaped garden

Head to the gallery to see each of the projects we've chosen to highlight the rugged beauty of concrete, including a Zaha Hadid-designed home, a Budapest metro station, and a cliff-hanging luxury residence.

4 comments
sugamari
It's like that movie where the guy is obsessed with the beauty of windblown garbage. it's just hard to appreciate some things
Martin Hone
I love concrete, but most of those buildings pictured are a blight on the landscape !
Nik
After WW2, there was a flurry of high rise concrete buildings erected all over the UK, as a quick way to provide housing. Most of them have since had to be demolished, due to a variety of safety and environmental factors. Some because they were originally designed for southern Italy, which has some 8-9 months of sunshine and dry weather. Someone forgot that the UK usually has 12 months of rain! So, water soaked in from the outside, and water vapour from habitation soaked in from the inside, until the walls were saturated, and then lovely black mould began to proliferate, and the buildings became a health hazard. The councils tried to sell them, but no interest from anyone, so they were all demolished. Others were built with prefabricated panels, and when a leaky gas bottle in one flat caused an explosion, one corner of the building collapsed like a ''castle of cards''! Many had to be clad to keep out the rain, and then became a bonfire waiting to happen, as happened recently, in London. The government has now set aside millions of taxpayers money to have all the cladding removed, from all those buildings. The heating costs of the inhabitants is now bound to increase, but as many of them are liviving on benifits provided by the taxpayers, I dont suppose that will be considered an important factor. Concrete is a poor material to build habitations with, in anywhere but hot climates, as it has virtually zero insulation, or it has to be insulated inside and out which increases cost, and the insulation's life span may be short. Another problem is that any water that soaks in, and then freezes, if the concrete is not clad, causes the surface to crumble. This process then accelerates with age. I would be interested to see how Hadid's 'space ship' performs when the odd hurricane passes through. Perhaps it will fly. However, one thing in concretes favour its its ability to allow architects to explore their flights of fancy.
ljaques
Yes, hard to appreciate some things. I wonder if these architects who work so deeply in concrete have a prison fetish. We all know how light and airy prisons are (from movies), right?
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