Use of pigmented concrete is growing – we look at its pros and cons
Concrete is known for its strength and durability. However, it can be considered an aesthetically unfriendly and dull material. Pigmented concrete is a relatively new type of concrete that offers higher chromatic qualities for architectural projects than paints.
Pigmented concrete can be used for building exteriors, allowing developers to create cities with attractive colour schemes. Architects are using it to fulfill aesthetic and technical requirements.
Pigmenting the concrete can go beyond the aesthetic function as well. It can enhance the impression of volume or contextualise a building in its surroundings. It is also used to revive space in the construction of new buildings and reconstruction of existing buildings and squares.
According to Global Market Estimates, the market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of approximately 7% from 2021 to 2026. Minimal maintenance along with high cost-effectiveness are likely to be market drivers.
Construction projects that have used pigmented concrete include:
- Sir Norman Forester used red pigmented concrete for the construction of Arsta Bridge at Stockholm’s main train station in Sweden. It fulfilled technical requirements for strength, long spans, maintenance and durability. The colour was chosen to celebrate the traditional Swedish wooden house color, Falun red.
- The concrete façade of the Karlovac Freshwater Aquarium and River Museum in Karlovac, Croatia A special type and size of granulation was selected to achieve the desired effect of making the facade match the floor colour.
- Hotel Tepoztlpán in Mexico has a gridded design made using pigmented concrete and volcanic stone, to complement the natural terrain, at a site located between Tepoztlán and Amatlán in the country.
- For the Yorkshire Sculpture Park in the UK, Architects Feilden and Fowles used rock strata and a cross-section of geological deposits as inspiration for an elongated wall in reinforced concrete. The wall provides insulation, load-bearing and acts as a buffer against road traffic.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Pigmented Concrete:
- Long-lasting: The pigments are chemically stable and do not fade over time from exposure to weather or ultraviolet light.
- Labour savings: There is no need to dust the colour onto the surface and float it in during finishing, as is the case with shake-on hardeners.
- High strength
- Weather resistance
- Minimal maintenance required
- Cost: It is 10-30% more expensive than for plain concrete.