When purchasing concrete mixers, it is easy to forget the impact that the creation of these machines had on the world of construction and architecture. Concrete mixers have made possible some fantastic feats of buildings that without the impressive machines would likely not have existed. Mixers are also responsible for allowing architects to experiment with concrete and other materials in ways that designers of the past could never have imagined. Before purchasing your very own mixer, in just a few minutes of reading, dive deep into the history of some of the world’s most phenomenal buildings that were made possible by concrete mixers.
The renowned Habitat 67 built using concrete mixers
Celebrated across the world as one of the most famous housing and community complexes, Habitat 67 can be found in Montreal, Quebec. It was designed by an Israeli-Canadian architect by the name of Moshe Safdie, and has been acknowledges as one of the most recognisable buildings in all of Canada. The building consists of 345 prefabricated concrete forms, all identical in shape that are arranged in varying combinations. Together, these forms make up 146 residential spaces mostly unique in design. All of the units connect to at least one large terrace with fantastic views.
The building was conceived with the aim of integrating the benefits of suburban homes (such as fresh air, privacy, gardens and multileveled gardens) with the density and economic factors of an urban apartment building with modern elements. Safdie wished to illustrate the future manner in which people would inhabit growing cities around the globe. However, the architect’s desire for affordable housing in the complex did not come to fruition, as the high demand for space in the building has made rent more expensive than previously envisioned. Some interesting features of the complex include:
– Bicycle paths
– Tennis club and court
– Play area
– Private shuttle services
The people who are lucky enough to have scored accommodation in this impressive complex live amidst the thick of the city, and due to the complex’s central location, have access to a plethora of work spaces, commercial zones as well as areas of leisure.
How concrete mixers made the Museu Oscar Niemeyer possible
Perched almost impossibly on a humongous yellow pillar, situated in Curitiba, Brazil, one can find the impressive concrete structure of the Museu Oscar Niemeyer. The structure is made even more impressive by the way in which it reflects over a calm pool of water. The museum, also referred to as the Museum of the Eye, came to completion in 2002 – much to the joy of the 95 year old Brazilian architect, Oscar Niemeyer, responsible for the building. During the day, the structure’s brightly painted façade shines out for all to see, and during the evening, the building is lit up brightly to provide the same effect.
The space serves as a 2,000-square foot gallery and attracts museum-lovers from all over the world. Many argue that while the artwork within the building are impressive, it is the museum itself that is the true work of art. Featuring some of Niemeyer’s signature design elements (sculptural curved volumes, striking geometric forms and interesting ramps) the building is constructed out of reinforced concrete. Think about all the concrete mixers required to accomplish this feat!
The façade of the building features huge areas of white, painted concrete paired with spaces showcasing gorgeously vivid paintings and murals. Art-lovers would find themselves in their very own slice of heaven upon stepping foot in this phenomenal structure.
The Palace of Assembly, India – constructed impressively using concrete mixers
Crafted featuring reinforced concrete columns that are placed in a grid throughout the building, the Palace of Assembly is a shining gem in the collection of constructions made possible by the famous architect, Le Corbusier. The columns were altered with the intention of raising a huge, swooping concrete form above the entrance to the building. Following one of his favourite architectural ideals, Le Corbusier ensured the use of pilotis to lift the structure off of the ground, with an ambitious and rewarding result.
This striking building serves as a legislative assembly point in Chandigarh, India. Construction began in 1951 and was only completed in 1962. Offices inside the building are shaded from the sun by the building’s design, while the other side of the structure faces the distant Himalayas. One interesting feature of this concrete construction is the circular form used for the hall – which contributes wonderfully to high-quality acoustics.
The Dio Padre Misericordioso Church in Italy
Made possible by the impressive visions of the American architect, Richard Meier, the Dio Padre Misericordioso Church is one of Italy’s shining gems of innovative architecture and design. Meier borrowed design elements from some of the greats to make this building possible, including Le Corbusier, Bramante and Borromini. The church was consecrated in 2003 and is recognisable by its three, humongous white concrete sails that blow and swell with the Eastern winds. It is understandable that design-junkies from all over the world make a stop here to experience this impressive feat of architecture.
The impressive façade of the building is made possible by the use of white cement, which required intense and continuous supervision while it was mixed in concrete mixers. This type of concrete is considered to be very special, and is characterised not only by its durability and exceptional mechanical performance, but also by its shining white colour which maintains its brightness well. This brightness is perpetuated by the concrete’s self-cleaning properties.
It might sound strange to hear that concrete, an inanimate construction material has self-cleaning properties. However, this white concrete was produced after extensive laboratory research which analysed the photocatalytic action, which has the ability to eliminate several pollutants which cause dirt – such as vehicle exhaust omissions, flue gas from domestic heating, industrially discharged chemicals as well as pesticides – which all come into contact with concrete surfaces. In doing so, it transforms them into substances that cannot harm the environment. As a result, the aesthetically white appearance of the concrete is preserved over time – and thanks to research like this, a growing number of public administration officials are considering the use of this special concrete for building projects.
The Pierre, Juan Islands
Cutting into and constructed amidst a rocky outcrop, the Pierre – translating into “stone” in French – is an impressive piece of concrete architecture that is the brainchild of architect Olson Kundig. It is located on the Juan Islands, which can be found off of the coast of Seattle in the United States of America. Many argue that the house, which is constructed out of rough materials, covered by a green roof and surrounded by foliage, almost disappears completely into nature from certain angles. This was the architect’s intention.
Although there is one guest suite which deviates from this structure, the Pierre functions mainly on one level – featuring an open plan dining room, living space and kitchen. There is a large glass and steel door which pivots to open up to an outdoor terrace alongside a grassy hillock. In order to set the structure’s foundations deep into the site, several portions of the outcrop were excavated, using a combination of both machine work and gruelling handwork. Even dynamite was used to accomplish this!
Interestingly, the excavation marks used in this process have been left on the stonework as a reminder of the building experience. Some portions of rock that were excavated were even re-used as aggregate crushed up for the concrete flooring. Throughout the home, there is rock that into the living space – which contrasts wonderfully with the lavish furnishings carefully curated for the house. Further, there are exterior and interior fireplaces all carved out of existing stone, as well as the entryway being completely carved out of the rockface.
Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilization
Marked by its beautiful glazed doors and striking construction, the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilization, referred to as MuCEM for short, can be found situated in the port-side city of Marseille. It is the first of its kind in the world, being a museum purely dedicated to Mediterranean cultures. But what makes it stand out the most is its pioneering exterior that consists of intricate, filigreed concrete – made possible by the use of prestressed concrete and a complex building system which undoubtedly required the efforts of several large-scale concrete mixers. Its architect, a Frenchman by the name of Rudy Ruccioti has been dubbed “the ambassador of concrete” for his finesse with the material on multiple occasions and projects.
Before construction was set to begin, Ruccioti stated that he envisioned the building to be the following:
• Laced with concrete
All of the above was achieved in the structure’s final product. The museum consists of seven levels and the structure totals 40 000 square metres in design. It is connected to the gorgeous Fort Saint-Jean, by means of a 115 metre pathway and a further 820 metre suspended walkway that actually cuts through the structure. In addition, parts of the structure are made of ductal – which is a fibrous type of concrete which makes it more lightweight.
Two of the building’s facades comprise high-performing planes that allow air to enter the space, and at the same time dematerialise light. From behind the concrete lace, viewers are treated to beautiful views of the ocean and sky.
Perhaps the most famous building in the world, the Burj Khalifa is also the tallest. It has been described as a “Global Icon” and is a magnificent meeting of engineering, art and careful craftmanship. The 200-plus storey building has around 160 habitable levels, and was inaugurated on the 4th of January, 2020, as a celebration of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s accession day as the new ruler of Dubai. One can hardly begin to imagine the number of concrete mixers required to produce the 330 000 cubic metres of concrete that was needed for the structure!
Further, the building comprises 103 000 square metres of glass, 39 000 tonnes of steel reinforcement as well as 15 500 square metres of embossed stainless steel. Its total built-up area totals at 5.67 million square feet. The tower offers services in the residential, recreational and office realm, and is home to the luxurious Armani Hotel Dubai, which offers 8 world-renowned dining experiences to its guests. One of the restaurants is the award-winning Armani Privé.
Tourists in Dubai often stop to view some of the 1 000 pieces of famous art that decorate the building’s interior – most of which were created just for the building. Three observation desks, on levels 148, 125 and 124 are must-sees if you ever find yourself in the region. From those heights, you can gaze upon the vast and modern city, built right in the middle of the desert (all the while remembering how concrete mixers made this structure possible!)