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​Concrete Crush: Concrete Map Melbourne

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Like us, if you have a crush on concrete, then pick up a copy of Concrete Map Melbourne to see the finest concrete buildings Melbourne has to offer. The map and guide features more than 50 examples of concrete architecture across the city, with original photography by Clinton Weaver and an introduction and building descriptions by Glenn Harper.

Pictured above: Concrete Map Melbourne (Image source: Blue Crow Media)

Glenn hails concrete architecture as the “hero of the metropolis,” cementing Melbourne’s urbanity. The examples span nearly 70 years, from Frederick Romberg’s ocean-liner-inspired Stanhill Apartments completed in 1950 to Wood Marsh Architecture’s impressive Toorak House in 2018.

Pictured above: Stanhill Apartments by Frederick Romberg (Photo credit: See Jay)

One early example is Robin Boyd’s Ctesiphon Supermarket and Residences from 1954. Using a monolithic method of concrete construction, the walls and roof are a parabolic concrete arch to serve as one self-supporting structure.

From the 1960s, residential apartments, commercial buildings and civic centres were built using precast or off-form concrete. New education buildings, such as Melbourne Teacher’s College Library and University of Melbourne’s Engineering Block, had expressed structural concrete that reflected the international trend towards Brutalism, while car parking buildings, such as Royal Women’s Hospital car park in Parkville, demonstrated the sculptural qualities of concrete.

Pictured above: Light House by Wood Marsh (Image source: Wood Marsh Architecture)

The University of Melbourne South Lawn car park is one of our favourites. Constructed in the early 1970s, the underground car park uses an innovative structural system designed by engineer Jan van der Molen. It comprises parabolic concrete shells supported by short columns, which encase pipes to drain the South Lawn. While the reinforced concrete dishes allow large trees to be planted on the roof of the car park, inside has a dark and shadowy atmosphere due to the gothic-like arches.

Pictured above: The University of Melbourne South Lawn car park by Jan van der Molen (Photo credit: Clinton Weaver)

The team at Remodern loves Brutalist architecture for its absolute honesty and solid permanency. There is no ambiguity about a Brutalist building, as its form is dictated by function, and its strong character and aesthetic extends beyond superficial beauty. These are also qualities we appreciate in all forms of design: where the design intent, materials and elements are clearly defined.

Pictured above left to right: The Royal Women's Hospital car park (Photo credit: Clinton Weaver) and 'Brutalist Architecture' (Image source: ArchDaily)

To discover more of Melbourne and its concrete architecture, pick up a copy of Concrete Map Melbourne, published by Blue Crow Media. 

Image source/credit:
Concrete Map Melbourne - Photo credit: Blue Crow Media
Stanhill Apartments - Photo credit: See Jay
Toorak House - Image source: Wood Marsh Architecture
The University of Melbourne South Lawn car park - Photo credit: Clinton Weaver
The Royal Women's Hospital car park: Photo credit: Clinton Weaver
'Brutalist Architecture' - Image source: Arch Daily