Cafe Concrete @ Coin Street - This is Visual Concrete

Date:Tuesday 30 October 2018
Time:09:00 - 17:00

Coin Street Neighourhood Centre
108 Stamford St,


Our popular event Cafe Concrete returns on 30th October 2018.  This pop-up event will provide inspiration and information on the design and construction of visual concrete. Our venue this year is Coin Street Neighbourhood Centre on the Southbank, with its exposed concrete interiors designed by Haworth Tompkins.

The event will feature:

  • Presentations from designers of high quality visual concrete exemplars.
  • Best practice guidance on the specification of visual cast in situ concrete and precast concrete.
  • Seminars from technical experts and specialist product manufacturers on performance, concrete and design.
  • Pop-up exhibits and samples of products essential for visual concrete.
  • A relaxing, informal environment, with a constant supply of refreshments. 

Cafe Concrete is free to attend for visitors. Click 'Conference Programme' to see confirmed speakers and presentations

Additional projects to be confirmed shortly.

Conference Programme


Registration opens


Welcome from The Concrete Centre, Elaine Toogood, Senior Architect, The Concrete Centre


Specifying visual concrete: key considerations, Elaine Toogood, Senior Architect, The Concrete Centre

Elaine will explain the fundamental design and specification decisions necessary for achieving good looking cast in situ and precast concrete. This includes concrete mix specification, formwork selection, post-finishing techniques and workmanship. The presentation will also discuss the performance benefits of exposed concrete such as thermal mass and material efficiency from the omission of additional finishing materials. 


Textured concrete at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Fergus Feilden, Feilden Fowles Architects and Greg Nordberg, Engineers HRW

The new Visitor Centre at The Yorkshire Sculpture Park is set into the hillside of a former quarry, a location that has inspired the construction and appearance of its enclosing walls. Layers of concrete, with different pigments and aggregates create a heavily textured surface, reminiscent of geological strata. Inside smooth cast in situ concrete walls support a saw-tooth roof, with board-marked concrete surfaces.   

Fergus and Greg will introduce the project and explain how the different textures and surface qualities of concrete were achieved.


Beautifying concrete at night - aggregate that glows in the dark, Glanville Norman, Product Support Manager, Tarmac

Seminar room: Lil Patrick

Working together with CHRYSO UK, Tarmac has developed a new product: Toptint Glow with LuminTech® technology.

The session will look at where this technology can be used to beautify concrete areas at night, whilst also offering environmental solutions to dimly-lit areas. The process is simple to apply and, unlike previous technology, the effect can last for many hours during the night and continues to remain with the same brightness for years to come.



Visual and sustainable concrete, Jim Branch, Technical services manager, Hanson

Seminar room: Fred Miller

This seminar provides specification guidance for the use of ground granulated blast furnace slag to create lighter, near-white concrete. REGEN is manufactured in the UK by Hanson and is a cement substitute that also increases durability and reduces the embodied carbon of concrete.  



Coffee Break


A concrete villa, Russell Jones, Founder, Russell Jones Limited

Exemplary architectural merit was an essential condition of the planning approval to build Villa Waalre – a family residence located in a forested dune landscape near Eindhoven in the Netherlands. All the property’s exterior and interior vertical surfaces are formed from a stone coloured concrete, enhanced with titanium dioxide and cast in situ with the imprinted texture and silhouette of roughly-sawn fir boards. The thermal mass of the concrete structure is also integral to the high thermal efficiency of the building.

©Hélène Binet

In this session, Russell will explore the property and share his experience of detailing in concrete. This includes the strategic location of construction joints, and articulation of the thermal separation of the interior and exterior walls.

©Hélène Binet



Architectural precast – understanding the process, David Moses, Pre-Construction Director, Cornish Concrete Products. 

Seminar room: Fred Miller

Architectural precast concrete can be manufactured in a wide range of textures, form and colour. As with all visual concrete its method of manufacture should be an integral consideration in the design process. 

David will provide an insight into the manufacturing and finishing techniques for architectural precast concrete, with guidance for achieving good results. He will bring a variety of concrete samples for reference.




Bespoke formwork for exposed concrete, Dan Ward, Project Design Team Manager, Cordek

Seminar room: Lil Patrick

One of the factors influencing the finish of both cast in-situ and precast concrete is the use of the appropriate formwork system. The session will provide an insight into how the early involvement of a formwork specialist will ensure that the specified concrete finish is achieved. 

The session will highlight the considerations involved when designing a formwork system, from the conceptual stage through to installation, striking and re-use. The conclusion of the session will include case studies of previously undertaken projects showcasing the types of exposed concrete finishes that can be realised.



Linen lace concrete – back to source, Patricia Belford, Senior Research Fellow, Ulster University ( former Co-Director Tactility Factory ) 

Patricia will discuss the collaboration with MYB Textiles Scotland, Belford and Morrow, Ulster University and The Concrete Lab at Queen’s University to develop new surfaces; embedding specially-woven linen into concrete. 

The presentation will discuss the progress of an AHRC (Art Humanities Research Council) follow-on-funded grant which draws on the expertise of concrete and textiles, underpinned by 13 years of research by Patricia Belford (textiles) and Professor Ruth Morrow (architect). 



Lunch Break


A tale of two houses, Chris Loyn and James Stroud, Loyn + Co Architects

Uniquely, the Manser Medal has been awarded twice to Loyn + Co Architects; in 2014 for Stormy Castle and in 2016 for Outhouse.  Chris and James describe the inspiration and design development for each house and their decision to integrate and expose the concrete structure as a fundamental part of the design.

©Charles Hosea

They will provide insights into the types of concrete finishes used and ways of achieving them.

©Charles Hosea


Properties and applications of glassfibre reinforced concrete, Ian White, Glassfibre Reinforced Concrete Association (GRCA)

Seminar room: Lil Patrick

Glassfibre reinforced concrete (GRC) is composed of cement, sand and special alkali-resistant glass fibres that create a thin, high-strength concrete with many applications in construction.

The presentation will provide an overview of the properties and applications of this versatile material. It will also feature recent projects including the new Elizabeth Line (Crossrail). 



Sustainable and innovative concrete, Richard Kershaw, National Technical Manager, Cemex

Seminar room: Fred Miller

This session will explain the development of innovative solutions that advance the sustainability of structures made with concrete, supporting the design of sustainable buildings that can take advantage of the benefits of concrete in a wide range of applications.

CEMEX will refer to its continuous work to improve the properties of concrete that make it a key component of sustainable construction: durability, resistance to aggressive environments, light reflective, and capacity to store energy, among others.



Project exemplar - 87 Weston Street, London, Marion Clayfield, AHMM Architects

This development of eight apartments, with ground floor office space uses load-bearing cast in situ concrete to form an exposed structure that brings character to the internal spaces through smooth, as struck soffits and horizontal board-marked concrete walls. Outside deep balconies are created from self-finished architectural precast concrete.

In this session Marion will explore the design development, construction processes and communication necessary to create this extraordinary, speculative development. 



Jump-formed cores with visual concrete, Angela Dapper, Partner, Denton Corker Marshall Architects

Jump-form is a fast and efficient means of creating the stair and lift core for a building and increasingly the requirement is to achieve this with a visual concrete finish. Angela will describe how this was achieved at a recent project in central London and share design and construction tips learnt from the experience.

©HB Reavis


Setting the standard of surface finish for in-situ concrete, Marc Daly, Careys Civil Engineering on behalf of CONSTRUCT

Marc will provide guidance on the concrete standards for the structural design of visual concrete frames, with reference to the National Structural Concrete Specification (NSCS) and compliant to BS EN 13670:2009. The presentation will provide insights into the information needed by the structural engineer and contractor to deliver visual concrete.


Improving the look of concrete, Jonathan Reid, Director, GreyMatter Concrete

Jonathan will draw on his wealth of experience and practical knowledge, in the production of fair-faced bespoke concrete. The presentation will provide guidance on the planning, consideration and post-finishing for visual in-situ architectural concrete.


Thanks and farewell

Event Partners


CEMEX is a global building solutions company and leading supplier of cement, ready-mixed concrete and aggregates. CEMEX is the largest producer of the second most consumed product in the world. CEMEX provides safe, sustainable, innovative solutions to tomorrow's building demands today.

CHRYSO UK is a specialist chemical supplier to the construction materials industry. Chryso can provide solutions for concrete to enhance urban and landscaped environments through its range of aesthetic products, for both precast and in situ concrete. 

Cordek provide technical solutions for a range of construction requirements, specialising in the manufacture and supply of bespoke formwork solutions for cast in-situ and precast concrete. Innovative thinking, engineering expertise and CAD/CAM capabilities enable Cordek to solve a wide variety of engineering problems.

The Concrete Centre provides material, design and construction guidance. Our aim is to enable all those involved in the design, use and performance of concrete to realise the potential of the material. The Concrete Centre provides published guidance, seminars, courses, online resources and industry research to the design community.

The Concrete Centre is part of the Mineral Products Association.

CONSTRUCT is a trade association formed of construction companies dedicated to improving the safety and efficiency of building in-situ concrete frames and associated structures. We are acknowledged across the industry as a professional and proactive organisation which acts as an interface between member contractors, clients and suppliers. As such, membership is open to all those who have an interest in promoting excellence in concrete. 

Cornish Concrete Products Ltd is one of the UK's leading manufacturers of architectural and structural precast concrete products, and utilises its considerable knowledge base and experience to meet the challenging and varied demands of the construction industry.

CCP will be highlighting the range of precast solutions that it offers as well as physical samples of materials to view. 

The International Glassfibre Reinforced Concrete Association (GRCA) was formed over 40 years ago in 1975, and it has an international membership coming from well over 20 countries. The International Glassfibre Reinforced Concrete Association has a long tradition of serving the GRC industry world wide. 

Hanson UK is a leading supplier of heavy building materials to the construction industry. Hanson produce aggregates, ready-mixed concrete, asphalt, cement and cement-related materials.