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    London Aquatics Centre

    Aerial Shot of the Aquatics Centre

    Aerial View of the London Aquatics Centre

    Last year we looked at the environmental impact of the London 2012 Olympics in this blog and this blog, in regards to the concrete usage. Here we take a look at the concrete design aspects, focusing on the design for the Aquatics Centre.

    The building was designed by Zaha Hadid who, like Oscar Niemeyer is a previous Pritzker Architecture Prize winner. As you can see from the above image, her designs are very futuristic, characterized by the ‘powerful, curving forms of her elongated structures’, according to The New York Times. This is examplified in the design for the diving platforms, which where constructed using 462 tonnes of concrete. In the video below, you can see how they were made and what they look like.

    During the Olympics the Aquatic Centre could hold 17,500 people, but this was with the two temporary ‘wings’ that you can see on the photo. Work is being done to remove the wings and create a regular capacity of 2,500, with a further 1000 available for special events. This work will be completed in 2014 when it will be opened to the public. Of the many swimming venues built for the games, the London Aquatics Centre is the only one that will remain afterwards.

    Best Blogs Of 2012

    We have looked through our blogs over the last 12 months and picked out the 5 we think are the most interesting and informative.

    1. George and the Dragon

    In this blog from January, we looked at a job we did at St. George’s Primary School in Barrow-in-Furness. We created a dragon themed pattern imprinted concrete playground, which you can see pictures of in the entry.

    Pattern Imprinted Concrete Dragon

    Pattern Imprinted Concrete Dragon

    2. Essential and Non-Essential Maintenance

    In this blog from February, we looked at whether a pattern imprinted concrete driveway requires essential or non-essential maintenance.

    Non Essential Maintenance

    Non-Essential Maintenance

    3. Installation Of Your Driveway

    In this June blog, we had a quick look at what to do during the installation of your driveway, and how look after it immediately after. The blog entry also has a link to another blog describing how to prepare before we arrive to install your driveway.

    Applying Sealant

    Applying Sealant

    4. Do You Need Planning Permission

    In this November blog we gave you a quick guide as to whether you will need planning permission when having a pattern imprinted driveway installed, or any other work done to your home.

    planning permission

    Do You Need Planning Permission?

    5. A Tribute To Oscar Niemeyer

    In this blog from December, we paid tribute to Oscar Niemeyer, one of the 20th centuries most innovative designers of concrete structures.

    The Niterói Contemporary Art Museum Designed by Niemeyer

    The Niterói Contemporary Art Museum Designed by Niemeyer

    The Future Of Concrete?

    In the above video, professor Behrokh Khoshnevis of the University of Southern California explains his vision for the future. It expands upon the ideas from this blog in July, where we gave a brief description of the process of 3D printing. The concrete used in todays homes has a usual compressive strength of 3,000 psi (pounds per square inch), but the new fiber composite used for the contour crafting would have a psi of 10,000. It would also set fast enough to be used for arches and domes on-the-fly.

    Going one stage further and imagining even more sophisticated uses for concrete is mechanical engineering student Ben Peters of MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). His idea is for a ’spiderbot’, which is essentially a modified skycam that you might see filming a stadium event or an inventive movie shot. The skycams can be moved horizontally and vertically like a huge marionette, or can have their own motors attached which allow them to traverse a support wire.

    Peters and other researchers in the Mediated Matters lab at MIT, focus on bio-inspired 3D fabrication and are further looking into the example that spiders in the construction process. In the future they hope to use silk-like materials combined with concrete and 3D printing to create quick to build, great looking and environmentally friendly structures.

    You can look at the original article here.


    DIY Design On A Budget

    Following on from our latest blog on getting ideas to design your own driveway, we have compiled a list for those on a budget, of some tricks to designing a low cost, good looking pattern imprinted concrete driveway.

    • If you’re pouring new concrete, consider incorporating curves. Make your walkway slightly curved. Go from a square patio to a half-circle. Shape your concrete to flow with the landscaping. It’s a budget-friendly tip that won’t add to the cost of your stamping ideas, but can add a tremendous amount in aesthetics.
    • Add a border. Can’t afford to stamp all the square footage of your concrete? Just stamp a border. A patterned border frames the concrete, giving it a finished look.
    • Keep colour simple. One of the biggest factors that can add to your cost is colouring your concrete with multiple colours. Use the same colour for your border or your fields and you can save quite a bit. Using colour with a pattern will make a dramatic difference compared to plain, grey concrete. You don’t have to do a lot to make an impact.
    • Expand the area you’re stamping. It may seem counterintuitive, but you can add a lot of impact by continuing a stamped pattern from a patio or driveway to walkways and steps. Rather than stamp an entire driveway, consider just doing a border, but then continue that border to nearby walkways, paths, steps, and entryways. Get more for your money by stamping in multiple places and creating a holistic look, rather than just splurging on one, single area.

    DIY Design

    When looking for ideas for the design of your pattern imprinted concrete driveway, the first place to look is at your home. You should usually try to emulate the brick theme of your home, so if it is a traditional brick house, the obvious choice is to use a brick themed pattern. Depending on your budget you can choose an entire brick-patterned driveway or just do a brick-pattern border. For the colour choice, look at the structural elements of your home, and use the same hues in the colour of the concrete, or choose a colour that compliments them.

    You can search the web for lots of ideas on the pattern and colour of your pattern imprinted concrete, but the best place to start is in our case studies section. Here we have many different driveways of all patterns and colours that we have done over the years, so you can see what the finished product looks like. Other areas for inspiration are theme parks and large shopping centres, as they both often use pattern imprinted concrete in a variety of creative ways, and you may not have noticed before without knowing what to look for.

    Complete Driveway Designs Ltd

    The Yard, Stubbins Lane, Ramsbottom, BL0 0PT
    E:info@northwest-driveways.co.uk
    T: 01706 827180

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