Cafe Concrete @ Coin Street - This is Visual Concrete

Date:Tuesday 29 October 2019
Time:09:00 - 17:00

Coin Street Neighourhood Centre
108 Stamford St,


Our popular event Cafe Concrete returns on 29th October 2019. This pop-up event will provide inspiration and information on the design and construction of visual concrete and the positive decisions for designers to address climate change considerations. Our venue this year is Coin Street Neighbourhood Centre on the Southbank, with its exposed concrete interiors designed by Haworth Tompkins.

The event brings together manufacturers of products essential for visual concrete, designers of high-quality visual and sustainable concrete exemplars and experts on performance, aesthetics, concrete and design. All gathered together, to provide guidance for designers on the specification of visual cast in situ and precast concrete. Cafe Concrete showcases samples, finishes and products, as well as providing best practice guidance and unique insight on all things visual concrete.

This year’s Café Concrete will include the latest thinking on how visual concrete can reduce materials, cut carbon emission of buildings and address important sustainability and circular economy criteria for design.

So whatever the time of day, drop in for a cuppa, pick up breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea – meet the exhibitors, take a seat for a seminar, or meet up with colleagues to discuss a project and access the latest guidance.

Seminar Programme

09:00 Registration

Welcome from The Concrete CentreElaine Toogood - senior architect, The Concrete Centre


Achieving high quality finishes and cutting carbon now - Elaine Toogood - senior architect, The Concrete Centre

Elaine will explain the fundamental design and specification decisions necessary for achieving good looking cast in situ and precast concrete, with a focus on the design and specification strategies for cutting carbon using an exposed concrete structure.


Student Centre at University College London David Tompson, associate, Nicholas Hare Architects

David will give an insight into the specification and detailing of the exposed precast and cast in situ concrete at University College London’s new student centre including the use of low carbon cement and recycled aggregates, as well as the innovative strategy that used thermal mass to avoid air-conditioning in this 24hour accessible building.


Royal College of PathologistsJames Connell - managing director, Oliver Connell & Son on behalf of Construct

Seminar room: Lil Patrick 

James will provide the concrete contractors view of the construction, and achieving the high quality finishes of this recently completed project by Bennetts Associates, with exposed ribbed soffits and boardmarked concrete walls.


Whole life carbonTom De Saulles - building physicist, The Concrete Centre

Seminar room: Fred Miller

Tom will highlight key areas where concrete buildings enable carbon savings to be delivered across the building lifecycle; both directly through reduced operational emissions and indirectly from avoided impacts relating to the fit-out and services, which may be overlooked in carbon assessments.




Breathing new life into existing buildings - Steve Fernandez - associate director, Arup

This presentation describes the design and specification of recent extension to George Green library, Nottingham, designed with Hopkins Architects and the repair and reuse of the existing concrete building. 


Cement replacements and innovation - Robin Styles - technical development manager and James Branch, concrete services manager, Hanson

Seminar room: Fred Miller 

This session will focus on how cement replacements such as GGBS can be used to reduce the eCO2 of concrete, increase its durability and improve its visual appeal. It will also demonstrate how modern cements can incorporate these replacements in a pre-blended form.


Good looking precast concrete with green credentials - David Moses - pre-construction director, Cornish Concrete Products (CCP)

Seminar room: Lil Patrick 

David will present recent projects using precast concrete and will highlight the use of local recycled aggregates, ultra-low thermal conductivity panel ties and an innovative offsite housing solution using ‘slimcrete’.


1a Earl’s Court Square - Sophie Hicks, Founder & Director of Sophie Hicks Architects

This contemporary house is constructed on a site of just 75m² in a conservation area of Kensington, limited by planning constraints to two storeys: one above ground, one below. The structural frame, including columns and ceilings, is in exposed concrete, with a rough board-marked finish. The floors are polished concrete, and can be heated and cooled. Sophie will describe the project, its non-standard procurement route, and  selection and detailing of the concrete to help provide a comfortable, sustainable and healthy home.




The Standard – reuse of a 60’s tower blockJohn McRae - director, ORMS

ORMS will describe the benefits and processes employed to transform this 1960’s brutalist concrete office building into a contemporary hotel


The Crossrail GRC Jigsaw - Elliot Gill, project manager, Glass Reinforced Concrete UK Ltd

Seminar room: Fred Miller

The presentation will explain the journey taken by GRC UK in the supply of the GFRC architectural cladding and stainless steel support structure for three of the Crossrail stations within London Underground’s Elizabeth Line. This involved coordination of all aspects of the process with particular emphasis on managing the Client’s expectations to deliver a successful project for both GRC UK and Crossrail with safety being one of the primary concerns, the presentation will explain the route taken through R&D, design, manufacture, transport and delivery. The use of 3D modelling within Solidworks assisted with the LO’R DfMA philosophy and proved to be instrumental in the success of the project ensuring that an efficient installation was achieved with reduced site based activities. The challenges of the stringent Crossrail quality assurance procedures were also managed and successfully delivered by GRC UK: ‘The Crossrail GRC Jigsaw’.


The pigmented mineral colourwash stain for visual concreteAnton Boekhoudt - national architectural business development manager, Keim Mineral Paints

Seminar room: Lil Patrick

Anton will give an overview of the technical make-up and use of Keim Concretal Lasur. He will explain how it can be applied to rectify a poor visual finish by unifying concrete colour whilst retaining the natural look and feel of visual concrete. A recent project utilising this system will show how Keim Concretal Lasur can transform a project.


Science and Technology Centre and Global Study Centre, Sevenoaks SchoolTim Ronalds - director, Tim Ronalds Architects

Concrete played a vital role in this building’s architectural and engineering conception, with exposed cast in situ frame and soffits and a precast ribbed roof structure providing thermal mass to the upper floor. Tim will provide an overview of the project with a focus on the sustainability credentials of the concrete and the approach adopted for quality visual surfaces.


Afternoon tea


Technical Panel session: Describing and achieving visual concrete chaired by Elaine Toogood - senior architect, The Concrete Centre


Architectural Precast SolutionsJames Donington - FP McCann on behalf of British Precast - Architectural and Structural

Seminar room: Fred Miller

This presentation is a case study on a recent scheme utilising architectural precast concrete as façade cladding; looking at panel types, architectural detailing and specialist finishing/moulding techniques.


Sustainable and innovative concreteRichard Kershaw - national technical manager, Cemex

Seminar room: Lil Patrick 

This session will explain the development of innovative solutions that advance the sustainability of structures made with concrete, supporting the design of sustainable buildings that can take advantage of the benefits of concrete in a wide range of applications. 

Cemex will refer to its continuous work to improve the properties of concrete that make it a key component of sustainable construction: durability, resistance to aggressive environments, light reflective, and capacity to store energy, among others.


Concrete naturallyElaine Toogood - senior architect, The Concrete Centre

Elaine will consider the recent trend in creating concrete with a natural appearance and explore some of the techniques employed in recently completed buildings, including rammed concrete.


Summary and Close

Event Exhibitors


Part of British Precast, British Precast Architectural and Structural is the trade association for the manufacturers of precast concrete architectural and structural precast concrete and a range of other associated products.

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CEMEX is one of the world’s leading providers of high-quality building materials including ready mixed concrete, aggregates, admixtures and cement and has delivered a reliable service to customers and communities across more than 50 countries throughout the world.  Owning it's own chemical admixture business enables researchers at CEMEX’s Global Research and Development Centre to create pioneering concrete designs to meet the demanding performance requirements of today's construction industry.

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CONSTRUCT exists for the benefit of its members. Formed in 1993, we are acknowledged across the construction industry as a professional and proactive organisation which acts as an interface between member contractors, clients and suppliers, and between other elements of the construction industry with all its stakeholders.

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Cornish Concrete Products extensive production facilities and in-house design capacity allow them to specialise in the design and manufacture of precast concrete products. CCP offer customers a high level of technical advice and design expertise from nearly 40 years of industry experience.

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The International Glassfibre Reinforced Concrete Association (GRCA) was formed over 40 years ago in 1975, and it has an international membership coming from well over 20 countries. The International Glassfibre Reinforced Concrete Association has a long tradition of serving the GRC industry world wide.

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Hanson produce aggregates (crushed rock, sand and gravel), ready-mixed concrete, asphalt, cement and cement related materials. We are part of the HeidelbergCement Group, which has leading global positions in aggregates, cement and concrete. 

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KEIM offers the most durable, pure mineral-based paints and system solutions for external facades and interior spaces and our brand focus is “We make the best paint in the world". Today, the company is the world’s leading specialist in mineral paint protection and decoration, thanks to to its sustainable solutions. 

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