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April 9, 2008

Concrete: creating beauty from liquid stone

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Contractors are getting better at working with concrete and so are architects, says David Bennett, concrete consultant, who has worked with many Irish architects over the years. He cites Scott Tallon Walker’s monument at Oulart Hill, Wexford, as a good example of how an architect and contractor can work together to create something special. “It shows the synergy that is possible. You have got to get the contractor into the habit of excellence and for them to do it as routine,” says Bennett whose love and knowledge of concrete was nurtured when creating irrigation projects as a civil engineer in pre-war Iraq – “which was a beautiful country”. And it does take that collaboration, he says, especially with in-situ concrete (that made on site, as opposed to pre-cast which is factory made). “Architects must get close to the coal face and read why things happen. If you use this material as a designer you need to know how it works. You can’t just specify it on computer. If you get close and take an interest, the results can be terrific.

The Irish Times

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