Architectural and Decorative Concrete

Dr. Manamohan R Kalgal, Jt. President & Head, Technical Services, UltraTech Cement Ltd

Introduction

Concrete can be used and processed in such a versatile manner that no other building material can compete with it. Concrete is not just a grey material that could be used as a base for further surface finishes. Common man perceives concrete to be a dull grey material that degrades the environment, exacerbated by media proclamations of "concrete jungle". This is because concrete is made that way today, focusing only on its structural function and not bringing out its aesthetic potential. In modern architecture one of the important means of design is Architectural Concrete. This is a concrete which provides aesthetic finish without compromising on structural capabilities. Through the design capabilities of the fresh concrete, virtually any shape and quality can be economically realised. This would require involving special forms, special finishing techniques, or special ingredients, and the resulting variety of effects is almost unlimited. Beyond aesthetics, the lighter colors offer energy efficiency and safety.

Colouring the Concrete

Colouring the Concrete
Colouring the concrete or mortar can be achieved by various means. Simplest method is to use sands of different colour having high fineness. Pigments can be incorporated into concrete to impart consistent colour. Concrete can also be stained with colour after hardening. White Cement is almost an essential ingredient in Architectural/decorative concretes. White cement concrete, plain or pigmented, allows for a broad spectrum of colors-from bright whites and pastels to saturated colors. It can be textured, patterned, or shaped to almost any form, allowing architects to be truly creative in their designs. Imagination becomes architectural reality with white cement. Beyond aesthetics, its light colour offers energy efficiency and safety. Whether inside or outside, white cement concrete provides a hard-wearing, durable surface that stands up to heavy use.

NBMCW November 2014

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