Don't be swayed by thoughts of multi-story carparks - concrete is a building material capable of feats of great beauty, as a breathtaking new book illustrates.
CONCRETE, edited by acclaimed graphic designer William Hall, collates images of some of the finest architectural works ever built from aggregate, cement and water, from Frank Lloyd Wright's Guggenheim Museum in New York and the Niteroi Contemporary Art Museum in Rio de Janeiro (above) designed by Oscar Niemeyer, to OMA's amazingly airy concrete house in Bordeaux (created for a wheelchair-bound client) and London Zoo's iconic penguin pool, designed by Berthold Lubetkin (though its former inhabitants have now been re-homed in the zoo's new and rather less elegant "Penguin Beach"). It all makes bricks and mortar look hopelessly ordinary and shows you that where innovative architecture is concerned, grey matters.
CONCRETE, edited by William Hall, with an essay by Leonard Koren, is out this week, phaidon.com
Teshima Art Museum, Teshia, Japan, 2010, designed by Ryue Nishizawa (photograph courtesy of Noburu Morikawa)
Penguin Pool, London Zoo, London, UK, 1934, designed by Berthold Lubetkin (photograph courtesy of ZSL)
Maison a Bordeaux, Bordeaux, France, 1998, designed by OMA (photograph courtesy of Hans Werlemann); top image: Niteroi Contemporary Art Museum, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1996, designed by Oscar Niemeyer (photograph courtesy of Leonard Finotti)