Great care

To watch a video of the event, go to

Winter’s Concrete Elegance lecture will see Heatherwick Studio present the Zeitz MOCAA gallery in Cape Town, this issue’s cover project. Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners will also reveal how the Cancer Centre at Guy’s Hospital in London (CQ 260) was able to grow by a floor every week, with most of the concrete structure prefabricated off-site.

The lecture takes place from 6-8pm on 22 November at the Building Centre in London. To book a place, visit the Events Calendar.



This winery by Frederico Valsassina is located in the Alentejo, south Portugal. Or more precisely, it’s located beneath it: a courtyard embedded in the landscape leads to a ramp that spirals down 40m below ground. The structure, which includes a vast circular storage tunnel, is built from reinforced concrete, helping to keep the wine at a cool, constant temperature. The aggregate is local stone – a visual link between the winery and the vineyard soil.

From the archive: SPRING 2009


Thomas Heatherwick’s Zeitz MOCAA art gallery in Cape Town (in this issue, winter 2017) is not the first museum to have been brought to life through the clever use of new concrete elements in a formerly derelict building. In spring 2009, CQ reported on David Chipperfield’s remarkable Neues Museum in Berlin – an 11-year project that overturned conventional wisdom about restoration.

The 19th-century Neues Museum had been badly damaged by bombing in the Second World War. Chipperfield’s approach was neither to restore the building to its former glory nor to start again, but instead to retain the beauty of the ruin he found and insert new elements only where appropriate. Throughout, precast concrete acted as the bridge between old and new, “fusing the shattered parts into a comprehensible whole”.

“In some areas [concrete] has been used in a neutral way but in others has been allowed a strong physical presence of its own,” CQ noted, citing the once-lavish Egyptian Courtyard, in which Chipperfield had inserted a lattice structure of concrete beams and 24m-high columns. The uniform mix of sand, white cement and marble aggregate provided both background and character. Perhaps only concrete could have performed such a nuanced role.

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