5 (Solid) Benefits of Concrete in Commercial Architecture

Posted December 20, 2017 | Tags: Commercial building

Concrete is often used in commercial architecture and building.  It is one of the most widely used building materials and can be seen in almost every urban or downtown area of the world. In fact, we often look past concrete and not notice it at all. But concrete has some very weighty (pun intended) benefits in commercial architecture and building.

First, let’s describe concrete. Wikipedia defines concrete as “composite material composed of coarse aggregate bonded together with a fluid cement that hardens over time.”   Which is not to be confused with architectural concrete, which is defined as “concrete that will be permanently exposed to view and therefore requires special attention to uniformity of materialsformingplacing, and finishing. This type of concrete is frequently cast in a mold and has a pattern on the surface” in the Dictionary of Construction. In the context of this article we’re discussing the concrete used for foundations, walls, supports, and other structure oriented applications.

Concrete has been used in construction for a very long time.  There are classic examples still standing in Rome, the Coliseum and the Pantheon are famous examples.  The Pantheon’s dome is still the world's largest unreinforced concrete dome.  Not bad for a building that is nearly 2000 years old.   But it’s also been used on a gigantic scale in projects like the Hoover Dam and the Panama Canal.

Today concrete still plays a major role in commercial construction.  It’s used in large parking decks, towering skyscrapers and in modest office buildings.    

Here are 5 benefits of using concrete in commercial architecture

1. Concrete is affordable and economical.  When compared to other material concrete is an economical alternative, especially when steel is involved in the design.   Concrete provides one of the most efficient and cost-effective means of constructing energy-efficient commercial buildings.  In the long run, the thermal mass of a concrete building can reduce heating and cooling energy requirements by as much s 29%.

2. Concrete is local.   The availability of concrete is geographic.  Suppliers don’t usually ship concrete great distances, which has many positive impacts. First, you’re dealing with local suppliers and impacting the local economy. Second, because the concrete is locally produced and shipped shorter distances its better for the environment and your wallet.

3. Concrete can be shaped.  The uses of concrete are only limited by the architects and builders ability to imagine and form.  Since concrete cures in place, you can form many different types of structures and molds.  From poured foundations to outdoor spaces, concrete is a “fluid” building material.

4. Concrete is strong and durable.   Concrete can be reinforced for strength and can withstand nature.  It can shoulder heavy loads and can withstand natural disasters, moistures, and pests.

5. Concrete is fire resistant.   Concrete is a highly effective barrier for fires.  It can contain and prevent fire spread and therefore beneficial in the control of damage and loss.

With all the benefits and value of concrete, it is no surprise that concrete is a favorite material in commercial architecture and construction.

Interested in where concrete may play a role in your next project?   Contact Bill Whittaker Registered Architecture for a consultation that will help turn your dreams into reality.


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