Puro Plus fibre cement facade panels on a building with shadow

Unfinished Business: How can fibre cement facade panels be used to tap into the raw material trend?

In our complex world where technology infiltrates every moment of our busy, modern lives, sometimes we yearn for the simpler things in life. In advertising, fashion and social media, we are seeing a steer away from super-polished, perfect visuals and an acceptance of the antithesis – everything that is organic, authentic and stripped back.

This craving for a back to basics approach is echoed in the architectural trend for raw materials, where designers are showcasing the beautiful simplicity of exposed finishes and construction materials in their purest state.

For example, the trend for futuristic glazed structures seems to be waning due to its popularity and overuse within urban landscapes1, with more tactile and traditional materials such as brick, stone and cement now taking centre stage for external wall cladding.

 

 

Building featuring SVK Puro Plus

What is the appeal of raw cement?

In a similar way to brick, raw cement uncompromisingly shows the construction material for what it is. Whilst maintaining a level of character due to its irregular variation in tones and surface texture, it is understated enough to act as a versatile “neutral” which combines beautifully with other materials such a wood and metal. Raw cement can quite easily appear cold and stark as vertical cladding, but given the right treatment it can add warmth, texture and a sense of luxury to a project.

The restrained sophistication of raw cement has allowed it to transition from being an architectural design trend to a material used within both commercial and domestic interior schemes. To achieve a subtle industrial look, raw cement and concrete finishes have risen in popularity for everything from walls and floors to bathtubs, tabletops and plant pots in offices, hospitality venues and our homes.

The effects of weathering often enhance the appeal of raw cement, with the “lived in” look conveying a sense of durability and low maintenance which is also attractive to architects and their clients. 

The influence of Brutalism

Raw cement and concrete were made popular through the Brutalist architectural movement, which embraced inexpensive, durable and functional building materials in the post-war climate from the 1950s to the 1970s. The moniker “Brutalist” is not influenced by the often imposing and austere structures created in this style, but it comes from the French “béton brut” – meaning raw concrete.

A pioneering advocate of “béton brut” was architect Le Corbesier, who used it on the external facade to give a visual demonstration of how the building was constructed, rather than it being hidden away as part of the inner structure2.

Often incorporating geometry and utilitarian design elements, Brutalist architecture has a graphic characteristic which still appeals to many architects and architecture enthusiasts. Examples of Brutalist buildings include the Barbican Centre and National Theatre in London, Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral and Manchester’s Piccadilly Plaza.

 

Building featuring SVK Puro Plus
Cavo Zoe hotel featuring SVK Puro Plus

Dare to bare with Puro Plus

Looking to achieve a raw cement finish on your next facade scheme? The Puro Plus design from Wienerberger’s SVK fibre cement cladding collection offers a contemporary, high performance solution.

Puro Plus is simply unfinished and uncoated fibre cement, showcasing the visual appeal of the material in its natural state. Elegant and contemporary, this cement board cladding achieves the look of raw concrete but in a lightweight, low maintenance, A2 fire rated alternative.

With no surface treatment, the inherent colour variation within Puro Plus cladding panels will become more distinctive over time, creating a unique appearance in reaction to environmental factors.

However, if you would prefer a rainscreen product that isn’t affected by the elements, the coated Decoboard Pure design delivers the same subtle, clouded replication of natural stone or concrete.

 

 

[1] https://www.dezeen.com/2018/05/04/blue-glass-pleated-khaki-facades-new-york-stone-concrete-brick-skyscrapers/

[2] https://owlcation.com/humanities/Top-10-Brutalist-Buildings-in-UK

 

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