New web portal - a boost to the beautiful and visible concrete surfaces of the future

Dorthe  Mathiesen

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New web portal - a boost to the beautiful and visible concrete surfaces of the future

Many people associate concrete buildings with something grey, boring and monotonous. But concrete surfaces can also be inspiring, stimulating and even beautiful to look at. This is what a cross-disciplinary development project has focused on with the launch of the new Danish web portal 'synligbeton.dk' (visible concrete).

The Danish Technological Institute was project co-ordinator for the three-year development project ‘The visible concrete surface – improvement and renewal of concrete’s aesthetic qualities’. The project was carried out together with 11 companies and knowledge centres representing all phases of the building process. The project, which was completed at the beginning of 2007, received EUR 0.2 million in subsidy from the Realdania Foundation.

As a culmination of the project’s cross-disciplinary collaboration, a seminar about the beautiful concrete surfaces of the future was held in the autumn of 2007 for professionals from the construction industry including building owners, consultants, concrete producers, construction companies and architects. In this context the main result from the project – the web portal synligbeton.dk – was launched. The new portal includes an ideas catalogue and toolbox. The ideas catalogue highlights the many different possibilities concrete offers in term of surface expression. The toolbox contains instructions, guidelines, checklists and other aids to enable construction partners to define the desired surface and have their ideas realised in a concrete construction.

- The portal collates and disseminates knowledge about how we can make more attractive concrete surfaces which we can actually bear to look at and which meet all our requirements for concrete surfaces, says Dorthe Mathiesen from the Danish Technological Institute. She was the manager of the project and hopes that the portal will promote the creative use of concrete in building and will provide inspiration for a dialogue between construction industry partners in the preliminary building phases, during construction and in the maintenance of concrete constructions.

The Danish Technological Institute has received many positive signals that there is a future for the portal and that there is support from all quarters of the construction industry to take it even further.

- The great advantage is that the portal provides an opportunity to harmonize expectations between all parties in the building process, from the very first idea to the completion of the building project, says architect Mette Seiding from Dall and Lindhardtsen Arkitekter A/S. As an architect she can draw inspiration from the portal and convey her ideas to a client in a way that would have been impossible before. Engineer Niels Thorslund from MT Højgaard A/S is also very enthusiastic about the new portal.

- As a building constructor I can use the tools on the portal when I collaborate with people from across the whole construction industry, for example architects and clients, and when I have to order materials. Then I can get help to, for example, have a wood-like texture created on a concrete surface, says Niels Thorslund.

Partners who have contributed to the new portal ‘synligbeton.dk are:

  • Danish Technological Institute (project co-ordinator)
  • Aalborg Portland A/S
  • Aarhus School of Architecture
  • Lundgaard & Tranberg Arkitektfirma A/S
  • Betonelement-Foreningen
  • MT Højgaard A/S
  • BASCON A/S
  • DALTON Betonelementer A/S
  • Betonelement A/S
  • Skanska Danmark A/S
  • Danish Road Directorate