Concrete has shaped our modern landscape, from industrial and functional architecture through to iconic and historic leisure locations, our ongoing series of short films visually explore the dynamism of the composite material.
With its distinctive re-enforced concrete lifting columns, the Kingsferry Bridge is sadly the last fully functioning vertical lift bridge in the U.K. Spanning the waterway between Kent and the Isles of Sheppey construction was completed in 1960 by civil engineering group John Howard & Co, who famously also worked on the Severn bridge, Humber bridge, Forth Road bridge and channel tunnel.
It has been raised an estimated 100,000 times in its operating lifetime.
Dartford Creek Barrier
Built in 1981 the barrier serves as a flood defence for Dartford, Crayford and the surrounding areas of the Thames, protecting thousands of homes and businesses. Straddling the River Darent and marking the boundary between Kent and Greater London, its striking form and finish divides opinion with the barrier on several occasions being nominated for the ‘ugliest building in Kent’.
We often talk about architecture being ‘sympathetic’ to its surroundings, sitting in harmony with its immediate environment. However with more functional builds, particularly those which must be equipped for coastal erosion, this can be a difficult design process.
Designed by Sir W. Halcrow & Partners and completed in 1957, Deal Pier is a prime example of the ‘form follows function’ principle. It sits, monolithic and stilted, with concrete shelter bays and enduring plexiglass, and since its renovation has had the delicate addition of the Niall McLaughlin Architects’ wooden restaurant.