Concrete Elegance: The Art of Casting



Hear architects from Haworth Tompkins and MAKE discuss two new British educational buildings which incorporate an innovative use of cast concrete. Find out about the designs as a whole, hear technical details, understand how the building works and ask your own questions in this free talk from the popular Concrete Elegance Series.

The Dyson Building, RCA Battersea
Graham Haworth, Haworth Tompkins

The building is conceived as a creative 'factory' both in the industrial sense (as a place of industry), and through the reference to Andy Warhol's 'Factory' (as a place of art production). The architects took inspiration from a range of exemplar designs in the functional tradition, such as the work of Owen Williams for Boots Pharmaceuticals 1932, the Erco Studios and Technical Centre by Uwe Kiessler 1988, and the School of Design in Ulm by Max Bill 1957. The building's aesthetic derives from the way it has been made, with polished precast concrete cladding panels and an all in-situ concrete structure – exposed throughout and used expressively to form a series of dramatic interlocking spaces. The RCA Dyson Building forms the centrepiece of the RCA’s new Battersea Campus.

The Dyson Building, RCA Battersea by Graham Haworth, Haworth Tompkins from The Building Centre on Vimeo.

Old Road Campus, Oxford
Justin Nicholls, MAKE

The Old Road Campus Research Building brings together six different cancer research institutions and is located amongst further research establishments, including a leading cancer hospital. The building is expressed as a single block with entrances, atrium and lightwells carved from its visually fluid form, with the central feature the curved concrete balustrade staircase. This singular appearance helps to prevent the formation of departmental territories. Internally the building is set out around two atria, the courtyard and the street. The street is a reinterpretation of the university quad and forms the heart of the building, accommodating a café and knowledge centre.

Old Road Campus, Oxford by Justin Nicholls, MAKE Architects from The Building Centre on Vimeo.

Chaired by David Bennett.