The Concrete Age

Past and Future of a Timeless Material

Pepa Cassinello 

Foster Partners, Viaducto de Millau (Francia)

It was she herself, Mother Nature, who first fabricated concrete, and the Stone Age man was first to imitate it. Not in vain. In the beginning it was a material formed simply by mixing natural abiotic elements, small dry stones, conglomerate dust (plaster, limestone), and water. It probably did not take man long to notice how rain and wind dragged these small substances over the earth and clustered them together into a moldable mixture, and that this micture, when dried, often proved a very resistant material. Man began to clad the interior of his cave with this prehistoric concrete, creating nicely continuous surfaces free of obstacles for moving around and sleeping. Man has not stopped using it since, and has allowed it to evolve in astonishingly innovative ways, so that since the start of the 20th century concrete has been the material most used in architecture and civil engineering...

Included Tags: