IN: Inspiration

The Rugged Beauty of Exposed Concrete

Casa MM is a country house that blends subtly into its surrounds with the help of concrete.

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It’s difficult to imagine a city without concrete. This robust and highly versatile resource has many uses, ranging from sewers to sidewalks, bridges to skyscrapers. The first high-rise building to use reinforced concrete was built in 1903, while a man named George Bartholomew built the first concrete street in 1891.

The city may be synonymous with concrete in the form of kerbs, tunnels and sweeping interchanges; as the most widely used building material, however, concrete is by no means limited to the urban or suburban.

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Casa MM in Argentina demonstrates that concrete can be as at home in nature as it is in a city centre. Located two hours from Córdoba, Casa MM is a concrete house with two storeys and two bedrooms that lies in a protected natural environment and is within short distance of a popular nature trail.

Designed by the Argentinian firm Alarciaferrer Arquitectos, Casa MM has a living room, kitchen and glass walls that open onto a breath-taking vista. The house seems to withdraw from the surrounds by making as little impact on the idyllic scene as it can while the walls, made from exposed concrete, heighten this effect.

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Exposed concrete creates a sense of texture by revealing the underlying aggregate. It is both rugged and slip-resistant and serves to augment the decorative appeal of high-traffic areas like driveways, walkways, stairs and patios. Production is also straight-forward: one need only apply a surface retarder to the newly laid concrete and aggregate and wash off the cement paste after several hours.

The rugged walls of Casa MM show how exposed concrete can be made to complement a rural setting. Other features also underscore this: stone walls at its base seek to integrate Casa MM into the surrounds while the interior mirrors this with white walls, black accents, dark wood cabinetry and polished concrete floors and ceilings.

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In a world that is rapidly urbanising, Casa MM reminds us that concrete can be as appealing in nature as it is in the aptly named ‘concrete jungle’.

Photo Credits: Federico Cairoli

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