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Future architects at INCM Madrid listen to the sounds of concrete

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How often do we use multiple senses to interact with the world around us? At the 2016 Intermediate National Contacts Meeting (INCM) in Madrid, students found themselves using their senses in unexpected ways to deepen their understanding of their craft.

Future architects at INCM Madrid listen to the sounds of concrete

The annual meeting takes part in a new European city every fall for ten days, bringing together the representatives of the countries in the European Architecture Students Assembly. This year some 200 future architects gathered in Madrid to take part in workshops and cultural activities that revolved around the theme of retroactivity.

As a sponsor of the event Cemex held an experimental workshop taught by experts from Cemex Research Group AG (CRG) that took a very creative spin on this year’s theme. In the truly interactive session, students did not only observe, but also had the opportunity to touch and even listen to different types of Cemex concrete.

“Many experts use their senses to deepen their understanding of different subjects, from oenologists who observe the way wine collects on the edges of a glass to horticulturists who can detect plants by their smells,” says Alexandre Guerini, Product Development & Industrialisation Manager at CRG. “We thought it would be an interesting treat for the students to extend this concept to the study of concrete!”

The sounds of several Cemex concretes (pervious, ultra-flexible, lightweight, insulating, impermeable, and rapid-hardening) were recorded in their service state, and played back for the students, who were challenged to discern which sound corresponded to which special concrete. Davide Zampini, head of CRG, says that this sensory experience represented a journey wherein future generations of architects can come to understand as well as appreciate the material and technologies we are working with every day at Cemex from a totally new approach.

“Architects are exposed to concrete, and have the opportunity to re-discover it through the most recent innovations, and new design opportunities are unleashed” says Zampini. “It can be very enriching for the young architects as they begin to bridge materiality and design, and create innovative construction solutions. By giving them the opportunity to see, feel, and hear the materials, we’re opening new perspectives and a deeper understanding of the possibilities with concrete, thus leading to opportunities to specify new materials in the conceptual and the design stages of a construction project.”

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