The ubiquitous use of concrete in modern infrastructure and architecture often symbolizes urbanity; it also connotes modernity, civilization, culture, and human pride in technology, alongside efficiency, industry, and progress. Concrete can also be quite ugly (many people find it aesthetically repellant) if not ecologically unsustainable. As Adrian Forty notes, concrete manufacturing accounts for up to 10 percent of all the world’s CO2 emissions, contributing to drastic changes in our planet’s climate conditions.1 With somewhere between 1.5 and 2.5 billion tons of cement manufactured each year, the unsustainability of our global concrete production is inarguably shocking; and since concrete often weathers badly in comparison to stone or other building materials, the ecological problem of its manufacture is compounded. With the demand for cement estimated to double by 2042, as Forty observes, we should be concerned that despite continued technological advancements, our apparently insatiable desire to build with concrete is...
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Book Review| September 01 2014
Review: Concrete and Culture: A Material History, by Adrian Forty
Concrete and Culture: A Material History
2012, 336 pp., 127 b/w illus. $36 (cloth), ISBN 9781861898975
Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians (2014) 73 (3): 417–419.
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Stephen Phillips; Review: Concrete and Culture: A Material History, by Adrian Forty. Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 1 September 2014; 73 (3): 417–419. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/jsah.2014.73.3.417
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