The Colored Concrete Works is an initiative by specialty chemicals company LANXESS that aims to inspire architects to use colour in architecture. The Colored Concrete Works is designed as a series of case studies documenting the use of coloured concrete in international construction projects. The initiative is accompanied by forums and workshops that provide a platform for architects, construction managers and building companies to exchange ideas and discuss the possibilities of colouring concrete with pigments.
Part of the initiative involves selecting an annual winner who has best demonstrated the use of coloured concrete in a project. The 2017 winner is distinguished architect Rudy Ricciotti for his ‘Musée des Civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée’ (MuCEM) project in Marseille in the south of France, and it is certainly worthy of receiving the world’s attention. The building is constructed of a total of 1100 cubic metres of concrete – in the form of prefabricated concrete slabs – and 250 cubic metres of in situ concrete. Ricciotti deliberately chose black concrete as the building material for this project.
It was important to the architect that the building did not compete with the historical Fort Saint Jean located nearby, but that it would still stand out from its surroundings. At the same time, Ricciotti wanted to make sure that the building’s appearance and surface texture would remain flawless in the long term, despite weather influences such as the moist, salty ocean air.
Ricciotti had all the prefabricated slabs and 384 panels produced and prepared near the construction site. This was done so as to minimise the environmental impact by keeping distances short and to enhance the identification of local residents with the museum by employing local craftsmen and specialists.
The Colored Concrete Works jury that chose Ricciotti’s project based its decision on function and colour. The Colored Concrete Works Award was first awarded in 2012 to David Chipperfield for his ‘Ciutat de la Justícia’ project in Barcelona in Spain.