After the second world war most of Europe’s cities lay in rubble. Centuries of use and infrastructure had been wiped out by carpet bombing and heavy shelling. Much of German was gone especially places like Dresden which almost ceased to exist. The East end of London was flattening plus most of Poland especially Warsaw would have to be completely rebuilt. Social buildings and housing were of the utmost importance to the Governments at the time. What they needed was a quick and cheap solution and what they got was designs using nothing but concrete. Build a steel framework mold and pour the stuff in, job done. Only one problem, not everyone liked it, namely Prince Charles. It is an issue with concrete that water does not always run off and it might be necessary to use a Car Park Gritting service like those at http://www.contract-gritting.co.uk/ to ensure that you do not have any issues. Let’s see why concrete was so needed and what examples of its use remain.
Concrete architecture is known as brutalism. It’s thought of as brutal because it is without frills or decoration. It is modernist in its outlook as its purpose is to just be functional. Because it can be easily, and quickly shaped concrete can make a block of flats much quicker than using tradition brick. It can also come as “slices” so as to be put together in what is known as a prefab building, usually a bungalow that can also be knocked up quickly. In the late 1940’s and fifties the war had removed many Victorian slums but there was still a case to get rid of what was left behind as well. In Birmingham and Manchester, Coventry, Portsmouth and Southhampton and even Bristol there was now a chance to rebuild the towns and cities and concrete would be the chosen material to do it. Not only that but civic buildings such as libraries, theatres, leisure centres and civic offices could benefit greatly from being more modern and accessible. Private firms got on the bandwagon to ensure commercial office would also be made in this manner along with shopping centres and new indoor markets.
There was only one problem. When we decided to use concrete, the stuff can start to weather very badly and look grey and stained within a short period of time. This gave the housing estates a rundown look and the designs thought to give ease of movement and accessibility became called Rat runs. Worse unbeknownst to the manufacturers the life of the buildings would be somewhat short lived. Many found that they had to demolish the sites as that contained the dread concrete cancer. Here the buildings literally began to crumble, and many homes and buildings were declared unsafe.