Comment and debate on the concrete industry’s most pressing issues


Our summer Concrete Elegance lecture features two buildings where the design and use of concrete is strongly influenced by their location.

Final Frame: Ureddplassen, Norway

Oslo-based studio Haugen/Zohar Arkitekter has designed this rest area next to a Second World War memorial on the Helgelandskysten Norwegian Scenic Route. An in-situ concrete slab forms a terrace facing the sea, while precast-concrete steps lead down to the shoreline. At one end of the terrace, the surface appears to sweep upwards to form the roof of an accessible toilet.

Photo: Steinar Skaar

From the archive: WINTER 1971


Strange things were afoot on the Côte d’Azur in the early 1970s. First, a new village appeared in the rocky hills behind Cannes; and then another, cascading down a steep hill to the Mediterranean. What was striking about both of these developments was that there was not, as CQ editor George Perkin observed, a straight line or rectangle to be found on either of them: “All is sculpture, some houses look like caves.” It was as if the ghost of Gaudí had taken a holiday at the seaside.

The villages – Castellaras-le-Neuf and Port La Galère – were the work of the maverick Marseillais Jacques Couëlle, and were the very essence of organic architecture, their sprayed-concrete surfaces curving and arching as if shaped by the forces of nature. “My houses are living beings,” Couëlle wrote. “They have a nervous system, a stomach, intestines, a heart. They are built like madreporic sponges.”

Perkin was immediately impressed. “With its rock-like clusters of houses it is obviously one man’s personal vision and a brilliant conception at that.”

The book, The World Recast: 70 Buildings from 70 Years of Concrete Quarterly, is out now, available from 

Access the full CQ archive here