The viability of reinforced concrete as an architectural art form has been so well established throughout the previous century, by architects such as Pier Luigi Nervi, Felix Candela and Simon Rodia - not to mention, Jorn Utzonthat its value in this field today is unquestioned. Indeed, Candela has, on several occasions, praised the versatility and potentialities of this medium, in fulsome terms. The only limits to its applicability, he maintains, are those imposed by the imagination, and daring, of the architect involved.
It is the purpose of this thesis to test this claim, by surveying some of the achievements of the above-named masters in this field. This will involve a descriptive assessment of the innovative techniques and procedures developed and employed by these architects - together with a number of lesser-known and smaller-scale architectural, concrete accomplishments - in order to determine whether Candela’s laudatory claims are justified.
This thesis will be conducted in the form of case studies of the aforementioned architects focusing on the particular innovatory techniques they have devised. In particular, the role of formwork in the containment of raw concrete, and its subsequent impact on the finished outcome, will be scrutinised in detail.