Concrete Elegance: concrete facades of distinction, complexity and rhythm video

Architect Friedrich Ludewig of ACME and engineer Charlie Scott of Watermans discuss Victoria Gate, Leeds - phase one of the regeneration and expansion of the retail heart of Leeds. They are joined by architects Stephen Chance and Wendy de Silva of Chance de Silva who discuss Vex, private house in London. 

Victoria Gate, in the East of Leeds city centre, forms a natural extension of Victoria Quarter and Leeds’s retail district. The scheme includes a new John Lewis department store, multi-storey car parking and two arcades with a mix of shops, restaurants and leisure facilities. The buildings appear as three distinct elements with individual identities that relate to each other and the vernacular of Leeds and include facades of intricate brick-faced concrete panels, GRC internal facades as well as white acid-etched and polished precast concrete cast in dramatic pattern and relief. The project pushed the boundaries of manufacture, developed through early collaboration with the specialist precasting companies and delivered using 3D modelling.

Vex, private house, is a curved, fluted concrete structure on formerly a derelict site in Stoke Newington. It is also an unusual collaboration between the architects and musician/composer Scanner. Music and architecture both take as their starting point Erik Satie's 'Vexations' – a looping, repetitive piano work that lasts around 18 hours in continuous performance. This free standing building, with looping, sculptural form is set among larger buildings and trees. The over lapping of different floor planes provides opportunities for skylights and manages privacy/views. The entire structure is cast in-situ concrete, the outer wall poured against corrugated steel sheeting carefully crafted to follow the complex, ever changing curves of the buildings perimeter.

Chaired by Elaine Toogood.

Produced by The Building Centre and The Concrete Centre.


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