Concrete is a remarkable building material, it’s ubiquitous use allows modern architects almost full rein over their creative visions, the gigantic proportions of the preferred geometric shapes and forms are no longer limited in scale by the antiquated use of the common brick, particularly when reinforced with steel.
It’s actually one of the oldest known building materials, dating back over 3000 years, but this chemical marvel also has a dark side, it’s use is responsible for maybe up to 8% of total global CO2 emissions.
Cement, one of concrete’s main ingredients, is produced by heating limestone in giant kilns, this process requires inordinate quantities of energy, usually in the form of fossil fuels, which is then only compounded by the fact that the heating process breaks limestone down Into its component parts: the desired lime and the unwanted carbon dioxide, which is then just pumped into the atmosphere.
But modern life probably just wouldn’t be possible without it, it’s everywhere, solving just as many problems as it creates.
And where else on planet Earth is so much of this versatile and yet climate destroying material on public display than in environmentally friendly Germany, nowhere other in fact than the entire government quarter stretching along the banks of the river Spree in central Berlin.
At least it is aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
© Andrew James Kirkwood – 2020