Perceptions and Reuse of Concrete Building Structures

Efcharis Balodimou (1), Joseph P. Rizzuto (2), Ibrahim G. Shaaban (3)
(1) Senior Lecturer, Built Environment, School of Computing and Engineering, University of West London, Ealing, London, United Kingdom, United Kingdom,
(2) Professor, Civil Engineerung, Faculty of Engineering, Computing and the Environment, Kingston University, London, United Kingdom, United Kingdom,
(3) Associate Professor, Civil Engineering, School of Computing and Engineering, University of West London, Ealing, London, United Kingdom, United Kingdom


Concrete has gone through significant changes in popularity in the United Kingdom. This paper explores factors associated with shifts in the perception, and reuse of concrete buildings. and how these changes have influenced the use of concrete in Architecture and Design in the UK. The popularity of concrete has fluctuated over the past few decades. This is driven by a combination of cultural, aesthetic and sustainability factors.  In the 1980’s and 90’s fairfaced, textured, bush-hammered concrete acquired a reputation which took some three decades to reverse. UK public opinion on concrete ‘Brutalist’ buildings of these decades is mixed, but tends to often be negative, where terms used include ‘Depressing’, ‘Hideous’, ‘Monstrosities’, ‘Eyesores’. There is currently a growing appreciation for the history and cultural significance of concrete and specifically ‘Brutalist’ architecture. Although these buildings were previously despised, they are now recognised as part of the UK’s architectural heritage and efforts are made to preserve them for future generations. Buildings and complexes, which were once run-down urban environments, are now changed into more desirable housing complexes often leading to drastic social changes in the area. Concrete has been generally seen as a material that has significant environmental impact, especially in terms of carbon emissions. Concrete’s durability, thermal mass and fire protection properties paired with advances in technology that can improve the appearance and consistency of finishes, have all improved the popularity of concrete. Strides are also being made to improve the sustainability of concrete constituent materials. The positioning of concrete as a sustainable, energy efficient building material that can also have an aesthetic appeal, combined with its versatility and durability, make concrete once again a popular choice for contemporary architecture and Interior design.

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Efcharis Balodimou
[email protected] (Primary Contact)
Joseph P. Rizzuto
Ibrahim G. Shaaban
Balodimou, E., Rizzuto, J., & Shabaan, I. (2024). Perceptions and Reuse of Concrete Building Structures. ARCHive-SR, 8(1), 24–32.

Article Details

Received 2023-11-23
Accepted 2024-01-29
Published 2024-01-31