Case Study

The Weston, Yorkshire Sculpture Park


The Yorkshire Sculpture Park sits in the grounds of Bretton Hall, an 18th century country park estate. Since its opening in 1977 the Sculpture Park has developed a series of indoor exhibition spaces that complement the sculpture arranged across the landscape.

Concrete and biophilic design

Biophilic design is a concept related to occupant connection to nature and the processes of the natural environment, to improve health and wellbeing. Interest in this area has grown in recent years, especially for interior design. Biophilic design is part of the scoring available in the Well Standard but its principles are indirectly including in other health and wellbeing assessments.

The impact of biophilic design on material selection can be grouped in a few ways - the use of naturally occurring materials; use of shapes and pattern inspired by nature; and avoiding the feel or sense of artificial material through for example - smell, sense of enclosure, sound and permanence.

Concrete comprises mostly of  natural material: rocks and sand, which, using various finishing techniques can be part of the surface texture. Architectural precast is often referred to as Recon - and offers a cost effective, high quality alternative to stone. There are many recent examples of concrete structures, facades, and interiors inspired by natural rock and earth formations, including rammed concrete. 

As well as revealing the natural aggregate on the surface of the concrete, concrete can be supplied in a range of colours through additional of pigments in the mix, often in earthy tones, the natural chaotic tonal pattern of the surface enhanced by the colour.

Concrete can also be cast against surfaces to create natural, appealing and durable textures such as timber boards, fossilised stone, or even plant forms. Fundamentally it can also be created in curves, and sinuous forms. 

For guidance on designing visual concrete visit our the see related pages.

On-demand webinar

Creating concrete with a natural appearance

This webinar will consider the recent trend in creating concrete with a natural appearance and explore some of the techniques employed in recently completed buildings, including rammed concrete.