As the modern world rose from the rubble of Second World War, it was shaped by one material above all others. In 1947, a new magazine honed in on this paradigmatic shift in architecture and design: Concrete Quarterly. The World Recast charts this journey through the stunning photography and eyewitness testimony of Concrete Quarterly’s rich and fascinating archive. It is the story of heroic architecture, ingenious engineering and how the world we now take for granted came into being.
The World Recast celebrates Concrete Quarterly’s summative coverage of this pivotal era in architecture, focusing on 70 buildings from the magazine’s 70-year history. It charts the genesis of some of the modern world’s greatest monuments and its boldest ideas, from the ethereal beauty of Ove Arup’s Brynmawr Rubber Factory to the sleek modernism of the Pirelli Tower, the fairytale churches of Gottfried Boehm and the digitally enhanced imagination of Zaha Hadid.
Plentiful and cheap, but also bold and undeniably modern, concrete suited the spirit of the post-war period perfectly. It was the obvious means of building the power stations, motorways and factories that would be the engines of economic recovery, and made possible a new era in architecture and design. But it was also the choice of a generation of designers keen to express themselves through radically new architectural forms and types of structure. The World Recast reflects upon the legacy of Concrete Quarterly and the significance of concrete within modernism and other architectural movements. It also expands the conversation into the present day, offering crucial insight into concrete’s comeback within today’s architecture, as well as its recent popularity in contemporary culture at large.