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The Art of Precast Concrete

You may not have thought of precast concrete as a particularly artistic material, but think again.

The National Precast Concrete Association notes that designers love the stuff for its “shape shifting qualities.” What precast concrete can bring to a project runs the gamut, from unique finishes and key architectural details to an entirely different aesthetic altogether. Aggregates can be added to the mix and then polished for a sleek look. Molds can be formed to exacting specifications, making the precast concrete element a customized, distinct piece in the overall structure. Even when it’s at its most serviceable, as in this New Zealand bridge, precast concrete adds a fascinating geometric appeal to a functional design.

Lauded for its strength and durability, precast concrete is also acknowledged for its artistic possibilities. Public art projects in the form of sculptures as well as decorative and functional items like fountains all showcase the material’s texture and industrial appeal. We’re seeing mosaics, tables and other indoor decor formed from precast, and expect its artistic applications to increase in the coming years. And when it isn’t posing in its own right, it’s the canvas for other forms of art, as with this Berlin building. It seems precast concrete’s possibilities are limited only by the imagination.