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The new Concrete Elegance lecture takes place on Wednesday 12 June at the Building Centre in London.

Final Frame: Tram Stop, Kehl

Architect J.Mayer.H has marked the end of the cross-border Kehl-Strasbourg tram line with a stop composed of eight rounded exposed-concrete elements. Two shelters are built from two vertical discs that support the roof; a third vertical disc is formed into a bench. The Berlin-based architect describes the work as an “infrastructural sculpture”. The irregular forms were based on precise geometries, he adds. “Basic curvatures got mixed up and recombined to create the organic outlines.”

Photo Frank Dinger

From the archive: Winer 1968

GUARDIANS OF THE ROCKEIS

Few architects did more to explore the possibilities of concrete design in the 1960s than IM Pei, who has died aged 102. His confident handling of diverse typologies such as the Luce Memorial Chapel in Taiwan (1963) and the Green Building at MIT (1964) had given him, as CQ put it, “probably more experience of concrete than any other architect in the States”.

High up in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, the National Centre for Atmospheric Research represented another “masterly step forward” in the art of concrete expression. Standing like enigmatic sentinels, the buildings were hooded to shade all windows from the strong Colorado light, but also to generate an air of mystery. “You cannot compete with the scale of the Rockies,” Pei explained.

“So we tried to make a building that was without the conventional scale you get from recognisable floor heights.” The finish – “as pink as the rocky landscape which they regally survey” - was the result of extensive bush-hammering, which brought out the colour of the local red limestone aggregate, as if these mysterious, sculpted beings had simply risen from the mountain beds.

The book, The World Recast: 70 Buildings from 70 Years of Concrete Quarterly, is out now, available from www.concretecentre.com/publications 

Access the full CQ archive here