Surface Materials Show 2016

Date:Tuesday 18 October 2016 - Thursday 20 October 2016
Time:10:00 - 17:00

NEC, Birmingham - Hall 3


Elaine Toogood of The Concrete Centre will be presenting at two free seminars at the Surface and Materials Show, part of UK Construction Week.

The Surface & Materials Show will showcase the latest surface and material solutions for architects, interior designers, developers and industry professionals looking for cutting edge innovations within the materials sector.

Case Studies: News in The Facade Solutions World
Date: Wednesday 19 October 2016
Time: 12:15 - 13:00

How do we make sure the façade solutions meet competing requirements such as sustainability, durability, flexibility, cost effectiveness, extreme user friendliness and bold design? ‘Not just green around the edges but truly green!’ is what we hear more often in the world of eco-friendly building materials. But is it only about using sustainable façade materials? Our case studies will look at major challenges we are currently facing.


  • Elaine Toogood, Senior Architect, The Concrete Centre
  • Paul Hughes, Director of Sales, UK, FunderMax
  • Emma Flynn, Associate, Research and Development Lead, Astudio
  • Paolo Vermicatti, Associate Principal, Grimshaw
  • Jonathan Thurlbeck, Sales Manager - Façades, Remmers UK
Concrete to the rescue... Again ? 
Date: Wednesday 19 October 2016
Time: 14:30 - 16:00

Concrete came to the rescue as a cheap and fast material to resurrect Birmingham’s city centre in the 50s and 60s. However, the mix of shopping centres, tower blocks and the infamous spaghetti junction gave Birmingham the ‘concrete jungle’ name tag.

World Architecture News’ expert panel comes together to discuss concrete in architecture and how advances in technology have enabled the literal rebirth of concrete as a high performance material for its sculptural qualities and sophisticated 3D forms that simply weren’t possible before. In light of Birmingham’s current regeneration, the panel looks at how concrete is being used in architecture today, enabling some ground-breaking projects.

The session concludes with the winning announcement of the WAN Concrete in Architecture Award 2016, highlighting some of the key international projects being realised today.

The WAN Concrete in Architecture Award is a specialist category that celebrates bold, daring designs that explore the sculptural and expressive possibilities of this highly versatile material across all building types, whether a private residence or public building.

Speakers include: 

  • Elaine Toogood, Senior Architect, The Concrete Centre
  • Simon Anson, Architect & Associate, Arup.
  • Jason Parker, Partner, Make Architects.
  • Robert Fry, Managing Director - International, Aukett Swanke Architects
  • Dr Barnabas Calder, Senior Lecturer in Architectural History, University of Liverpool School of Architecture


Seminar Programme

Concrete – a final finish  

Date: 10 February 2016

Time: 11:30 - 12:15

Concrete is increasingly being appreciated and used expressively as an interior finish. It brings performance benefits beyond just structure, including fire and flood resilience, low maintenance and thermal mass. This seminar session considers the requirements necessary to achieve a high quality finish, including techniques for improving the look of new concrete once cast on site.

Attendees will receive a copy of the latest edition of Concrete Quarterly.


Jonathan Reid - GreyMatter Concrete
Elaine Toogood - The Concrete Centre

Organic Concrete Forms

Date: 11 February 2016

Time: 16:00 - 16:45

One of the delights of concrete is its ability to create structural forms of any shape, including irregular, free form curves. The challenge of making curves is not with the concrete, but in the making of the mould, or formwork. This seminar session explores the making of organic shapes in concrete using a variety of techniques. The featured case study is the award-winning sprayed concrete Acoustic Shells on Littlehampton sea front presented by its designers.

Project description: Acoustic Shells – Littlehampton:

"The two shells appear as distinctive white land forms emerging from the grass along the seafront. They echo the visually striking forms of the local sand dunes."

The Acoustic Shells were conceived as an organic, contemporary reinterpretation of the traditional Victorian bandstand and the structures form part of the civic rejuvenation of Littlehampton seafront. The shell structures have been created without using formwork, instead the concrete was sprayed directly onto the reinforcement mesh. The majority of the concrete shell is only 100mm thick, providing an efficient, robust and elegant solution.

The project was awarded Architects Journal Small Projects Special Prize 2015.


Jason Flanagan – Flanagan Lawrence & Andrew Weir – Expedition Engineers

Elaine Toogood - The Concrete Centre