CD Designs Blog

    Olympic Legacy

    The Olympic Stadium

    The Olympic Stadium

    When submitting the bid for the 2012 Olympic Games, the organisers chose to place sustainability at the front. The team highlighted the huge opportunity they would have to increase awareness of climate change and the issues around it. Throughout the whole process of organising the games, there has been a commitment to making London 2012 the ‘greenest’ games of all time. This began with the designing of the venues and transport links, carried on to the actual hosting of the games, and hopefully will leave a long lasting legacy of a sustainable environment.

    Since the games were awarded to London, all of the construction partners have been encouraged to guarantee the use sustainable materials wherever possible, and construction managers worked hard to identify suitable sustainable materials that could be used. One such product that will be widely used is recycled concrete aggregates. Recycled aggregates are made from materials such as bricks and concrete that are crushed and turned into a product ready for reuse in the construction of new buildings or roads. Recycling concrete into aggregates is considered to be more sustainable than mining, processing and transporting new aggregates. Partners were asked to ensure that a minimum of 20% of the value of the materials used would be recycled content, and that a minimum of 25% of the aggregate would be recycled. They were also asked to transport at least 50% of the materials by sustainable means i.e. water or rail, and to use energy-efficient, low emissions vehicles on-site.

    The Cement Museum

    Exhibit at the museum

    Exhibit room at the museum

    Following on from our series on Spain, the city of San Sebastian in northern Spain is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations. The picturesque coastline and hilly surroundings mean that the city is always full of holidaymakers, but many leave without seeing the main attraction, the cement museum!

    The Museum Cemento Rezola is Spain’s first and only museum dedicated to cement. It was opened in the year 2000 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Cementos Rezola company, one of Spain’s largest cement and concrete companies.  The museum aims to “Discover the important role cement has played in our civilisation”, and answer questions like “What actually goes on in a cement factory?”, “How is concrete utilised?” and “ Where do the raw materials come from?”

    Exhibitions at the museum include “the history of cement”, an audio-visual presentation which provides an overview from the discovery of cement in 1756, to the advent of Portland cement, to the use of reinforced concrete. Also “cement and the environment” underlines the contribution of cement factories in helping the environment, by using waste generated by other industries.

    The museum is free to enter, and a guided tour can be arranged for groups of 6 or more by booking ahead. Details can be found on their website.

    La Sagrada Familia

    One of the facades of the church

    One of the facades of the church

    La Sagrada Familia is a large Roman Catholic church in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, designed by architect Antoni Gaudí. Construction was begun in 1882, and it is hoped that it will be completed by 2026, the 100th anniversary of Gaudi’s death.

    One of the materials being used in the construction is reinforced concrete. This may seem like a modern material that would not have been used by Gaudi, but he was actually one of the first architects to use it because Eusebi Güell, a Catalan entrepreneur who was the major patron of Gaudi’s work, was the owner of the first Portland cement factory in the country. Reinforced concrete is used on the termination of the towers on the Nativity façade, and Gaudi also proposed to use it on the construction of the naves in order to concentrate the horizontal forces on the columns, and reduce the amount of scaffolding for the construction.

    As regulations on building work have become stricter over the years, the quality of the concrete used has had to improve dramatically so that the church can stay as true as possible to the original design, whilst still complying with the new laws.

    Environmentally Friendly Parking

    Any area that is frequently used to park vehicles will probably require surface reinforcement. Without it the ground will quickly become boggy, rutted and unsightly, with little chance of sustaining healthy grass growth.  The usual materials used to reinforce the ground – concrete, tarmac and block paving, are usually impermeable or semi-permeable, which can create problems when it comes to Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS).

    The grass Ecoblock looks almost natural

    The grass Ecoblock looks almost natural

    One solution to this problem is to Ecoblock. The Ecoblock porous paving systems provide effective grass protection and gravel retention and have been designed for long term use in a wide range of load bearing applications. It is available for use with both grass and gravel, and offer many advantages over traditional surfaces. They are manufactured from fully UV stabilised, 100% recycled, High Density Polyethylene (HDPE), which is chemically inert and can be located in the ground without long term damage to the surrounding soils. Ecoblock systems are also fade resistant, providing longer-lasting, aesthetically pleasing solutions.

    The grass version is lawnmower friendly, and both the grass and gravel types are easy to install and require low maintenance. You can find out more about them at Buildbase Civils & Lintels.

    Concrete Comedy Carpet

    Aerial view of the carpet

    Aerial view of the carpet

    Comedy Carpet, a new £2.6 million attraction located at the foot of Blackpool Tower, has recently been unveiled. It is the work of visual artist Gordon Young, whose work mainly focuses on creating art for the public domain.

    The work is 2,200 square metres in size, and comprises of 235 cast concrete panels, which include over 160,000 letters cut individually form solid red and black granite, and specially created cobalt blue concrete. The letters vary in size from a few centimetres to nearly a metre in height, so can be seen both close up and from the top of the tower.

    The carpet features the names, jokes and catchphrases of over 1000 comedians, including Les Dawson, Frankie Howerd, Tommy Cooper and Morecambe and Wise, and was unveiled by another comedy legend Ken Dodd.

    Comedy carpet is one of the most ambitious pieces of public art ever commissioned in the UK, taking 5 years to complete from initial conception to finished installation, and is part of the Festival Headland overhaul, a new events area at the resort. Graham Caine, Blackpool Council’s cabinet member for tourism and culture, said of the work: “This magnificent work is all part of the continuing regeneration of Blackpool. It’s a truly unique work of accessible public art at one of our resort’s most famous locations”.

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