In August, the Concrete Centre asked my company Wordmule to develop another new magazine format – this time, a sort of compendium drawing together content from previous issues of Concrete Quarterly on a particular theme. The first focuses on tall buildings, to tie in with the global high-rise building boom and an event the Concrete Centre was hosting. We created a flexible, repeatable format with a mix of new and old content, and a refreshed look and feel, both distinct from CQ but clearly related. Read it here.
Inside Housing is the most widely read magazine for the UK social housing sector. I edited a 36-page supplement to tie in with the biggest event in the housing calendar, the Chartered Institute of Housing’s annual conference in Manchester. As social landlords waited anxiously to find out their fate under the new Conservative government, the supplement took an in-depth look at the apparently unstoppable shift of power from Westminster to the regions, and whether councils could ever reprise their role as major housebuilders.
The magazine also included four “sponsored chapters” – bespoke editorial produced in association with a sponsor on a particular topic. The overarching theme inevitably became “doing more with less”, as ever-deeper spending cuts force those providing public services to make some difficult choices.
Concrete is a slippery, shape-shifting thing in the summer issue of Concrete Quarterly magazine, which my company Wordmule produces on behalf of the Concrete Centre. It scales great heights as a super-slender New York skyscraper, takes on the surface texture of wood in a new office interior, assumes a quiet dignity for two World War I memorials, conceals hidden pipes for low-energy heating and cooling, and camouflages itself beneath a wildflower meadow for a green roof in London.
My company Wordmule has produced Concrete Quarterly on behalf of the Concrete Centre for several years now. For spring 2015, they also wanted a completely new 24-page magazine to tie in with the Ecobuild event, bringing together all of the sustainability themes from their three-day seminar programme – and planned, written and designed in six weeks flat. The result is This is Concrete.
There’s nothing brutal about the spring edition of Concrete Quarterly, which my company Wordmule produces for the Concrete Centre. Concrete is at its cosiest in a south London family home, its most sensitive on a heritage restoration in King’s Cross, and its most finely detailed in a concert hall in the Norwegian Arctic, which has 674 unique facade panels of sparkling white concrete.
Nothing brutal, that is, until you get to Lasting Impression on page 19, when architect Simon Allford of AHMM chooses his all-time favourite concrete structures: Birmingham’s Spaghetti Junction and disused World War II pillboxes.
Eyes down for the winter issue of Concrete Quarterly (produced by my company Wordmule for the Concrete Centre), which has a special focus on floors. There is a humbling variety of finishes on offer, from many shades of matt or polished, to sandblasted, acid-etched or (my favourite) diamond polished to reveal the beauty of the stones within. Also in this issue: a house in the Welsh countryside where expanses of highly polished concrete floor reflect the brooding skies above, and a BREEAM Excellent Hindu temple, designed and pre-cast in India and built in Brent – very definitely a world first.
Concrete-as-circus-strongman emerges as the theme of the latest issue of Concrete Quarterly, produced by my company Wordmule for the Concrete Centre. At One World Trade Center in New York, a super-strength concrete backbone is at the core of what its developers intend to be the most robust tower in the world. In Beirut, most of Zaha Hadid’s concrete Issam Fares Institute hangs from an astonishing 21m cantilever over a concrete campus, while at the Rambert Ballet’s new HQ on the south bank of the Thames, witness dazzling structural gymnastics as a light-but-incredibly-strong structure supports an 18m column-free span to replicate the stage at Saddler’s Wells. And in our Final Frame back cover slot, there’s Christian de Portzamparc’s Cidade Das Artes in Rio – an entire city under a mighty 46,000m2 slab roof. Take your pick from the classic magazine version in PDF form or the more tablet-friendly interactive edition.
Ever since its launch in 1947, Concrete Quarterly has been one of architects’ favourite feel-good publications, a magazine by people who love concrete, for people who love concrete. And now it’s a digital download too – the 248th issue, published this month, is the first to be available in a tablet-friendly format. More traditional readers will find that the print edition is 40% bigger too, with a new technical section for architects, a really techie section for engineers and an expanded “Retro concrete” feature, where we delve into CQ’s extensive archive for forgotten gems and invite renowned architects to choose their favourite concrete buildings. CQ is produced by my company Wordmule for the Concrete Centre and you can download both the print and digital issues here.
Concrete Quarterly’s Spring issue is out, with a four-page focus on the King’s Cross development, where some of the UK’s most sustainable offices are taking shape. Sustainability is the theme of this edition of CQ (which I edit for the Concrete Centre and UBM). As well as the BREEAM “excellent”-rated buildings of Pancras Square, it features quite a few notable firsts: the UK’s first BREEAM “outstanding” public building (Brent Civic Centre), the first LEED platinum building in the Middle East (Siemens’ Abu Dhabi HQ), and the first building in the world to use cement-free concrete – the Global Change Institute in Brisbane, which is designed to produce more energy than it consumes and has a shading system that tracks the sun like a plant.
Are you a concrete-obsessed billionaire searching for your dream holiday home? You could do a lot worse than check out Concrete Quarterly’s house-themed Winter issue (which I edited). So what’s it going to be? Norman Foster’s luxury apartments in downtown Buenos Aires (pages 4-7)? A modernist retreat apparently carved out of a rocky outcrop in the hills of Maharashtra, with a bath open to the skies (10-11)? Or, for those seeking a third way between luxury holiday and survival weekend, this extremely comfortable cyclone-proof bunker deep in the Queensland jungle (9)? It may look like the home of a Bond villain but the owner’s actually a stamp dealer (the clue’s in the perforated facade). And for the rest of us, there’s the rather more liveable Hill Top House – Japanese-style exposed interiors seamlessly inserted into an Oxford terrace.