There are two different types of concrete in construction: architectural and decorative. Architectural concrete is concrete which serves a structural purpose. It is used in many different types of structures, from garages to internal facades. Decorative concrete is concrete which serves an aesthetic purpose, such as flatwork or panels with no structural responsibility.
However, concrete homes are blending the two categories together. Concrete homes are houses constructed almost entirely out of concrete, usually including the walls, floors, and often even ceilings. Concrete is an extremely durable material that will not rust, rot or burn. Concrete home are likely to last decades longer than traditional buildings – sometimes even two or three times longer – and concrete can be cast into any case, making it a very flexible material to design with.
So, why aren’t all houses concrete? Well, smaller concrete subcontractors capable of building completely concrete homes can be hard to find. The cost of precast concrete slabs is relatively high compared to cheaper materials like timber. Timber is also very popular in Australia because it is cheap, fast, easy to build, and can be locally sourced. However, trends are beginning to change.
Concrete has gained huge attention in the global design world recently as an attractive and minimalist design material. Concrete houses have a sense of raw brutalism which is becoming an increasingly attractive stylistic alternative in a decade marked by the opulence of ultra-wealthy society. Raw materials like concrete, steel and architectural glass gain a sense of industrial chic when contrasted with elegant interior design styles and bursts of a warm décor. This style has become incredibly popular recently and the trend shows no sign of slowing down.
Concrete is one of the most eco-friendly home building options available. The primary ingredient in the production of concrete is Limestone, the single most abundant material on the planet. It can also be made from other materials, including waste byproducts from manufacturing companies. Concrete can will last much longer than traditional buildings and can even be recycled towards the end of its life. Furthermore, it can save on energy production as concrete houses are more effective at temperature moderation than many traditional materials.
All of this trends towards concrete becoming one of the world’s most popular housing materials over the next few decades. Concrete’s practicality is another huge factor, as it is low maintenance, wind / fire / water / pest / rust / rot / earthquake resistant, allergen free, and can even help with muffling sounds.
Concrete homes have become a stylishly practical housing choice for many different landscapes and settings. Whether a concrete home is contrasting its manmade industrial materials against the raw beauty of a natural beachscape or blending in with the urban steel-painted skyline of a big city, a concrete house is sure to catch the eye. Here are some of the best examples of concrete houses around the globe.
Concrete house design: the best examples of concrete architecture around the globe
5. Torquay concrete house, Australia
A marvel of raw materials, this breathtaking prefab Australian home contrasts natural hardwood with unrefined concrete. The effect is stylish and inviting, with an effortless beauty that captures the eye.
Designed by Auhaus Architecture for a family of concreters, this home embraces the beauty of the material by leaving surfaces untreated and emphasizing the industrial aesthetic at every opportunity – inside and out. The cool grey walls leave each room open to various colours and textures.
4. Concrete farmhouse, New Zealand
Featuring on the hit architecture show Grand Designs New Zealand, this magnificent farmhouse was overseen by architects Richard Naish and Natalie Stebben from RTA studio. Every room in the 280 SQM home has a view of the lush surrounding countryside. The concrete house blends in seamlessly with the landscape, even at times appearing to change colour – homeowner Lachlan MacDonald has said that it appears grey and moody after rain but brightens to a white, stone-like colour in direct sunlight.
3. Suburban concrete house, Australia
This concrete refuge is nestled in the heart of Sydney’s suburbs, providing respite from the hustle and bustle of the city without distancing itself too far from its roots. Designed by Ian Bennett Design Studio, this home is a wonderful example of how minimalism and concrete can go hand in hand.
The design process of this house is particularly interesting as it was subject to specific requirements by the CDC. These regulations specified that the house had to occupy limited space on the block, the first floor needed to be narrower than the ground floor, and the house had to be set back from the road. These regulations actually turned into the home’s greatest strength, as they inspired the minimalist design and allowed for its architects to utilize the northerly aspect of the home and promote privacy.
2. London concrete apartment, England
This 2,583 square foot apartment in Clerkenwell was renovated by Stephen Kavanaugh of London’s Inside Out Architecture. Though it is not technically a ‘concrete house’ in the same way that other features on this list are, concrete is certainly a huge design feature of this home and takes center stage. The strikingly dramatic geometry of the room design lends perfectly to raw materials and creates a sense of sophisticated industrialism.
1. Lewes concrete house, UK
This concrete house is easily one of the most beautiful concrete homes in the whole world. Designed by Raw Architecture Workshop and manufactured by Cemex in 2020, this brand new home has gained national attention with its intelligent design, thoughtful decoration, and stunning materials.
The use of raw materials such as concrete walls, industrial steel fittings, exposed pipes, leather and live house plants emphasizes the natural aspect of the home, helping it to blend into the surroundings whilst still offering that twist of elegant comfort necessary in a home. A marvel of modern architecture, this home is sure to pave the way for many more luxury concrete designs in the future.