The Reinforced Concrete

The Reinforced concrete is the best material to build incredible shapes like this building located in Mumbai

Hi, it is not easy to be always traveling but that it doesn´t mean that it is bad or unbearable, I, Rodolfo, usually I spend my time reading a book in the airports (nothing of thrillers, of course) or I watch some classic in my Tablet (a Nexus 9… Is it not on the market yet? Is that you have already forgotten who I am?), the last movie was Ben-Hur the film is known for its horse racing and because it has many differences with the novel but it is worth see Charlton Heston in his 200 minutes of filming.


Well, the case is that I love the films, I cannot remedy it, and therefore I travel a lot to Mumbai to see with it surprise us in Bollywood (Mumbai was formerly Bombay). I have a few friends working in the art society of Bombay (it situated there) and thanks to them I found out that they were doing a building whose main singularity is the form of the exterior… completely curvilinear! It would be impossible to achieve if it we do not use the reinforced concrete…

The Third Stop: The Reinforced Concrete.

If the previous article was based on the Ecological Concrete, this it is based on the Reinforced Concrete. The concrete is the most widely used material in construction but has a characteristic «uncomfortable»: it works very well to compression (it supports loads directly on it) but it not works very well to flexion (it not support attempting to fold) so it has many limitations in structural systems. In the middle of the 19th century emerged the reinforced concrete, which it consists basically to be included one or more steel reinforcing rods within the concrete mass, this contributing to withstand the loads to flexion of the constructive element.


Today, it is very difficult to find a construction that it did not made with reinforced concrete: bridges, buildings, pipelines or installations of certain scale… Even the urban furniture is usually made of this material!!

The two materials is complement perfectly because they have virtually the same coefficient of expansion, because when the concrete is solidified it shrinks around the steel and they have to cooperate closely: the concrete protects the steel from corrosion (as a father to a son) because the alkaline PH is acting and passive the steel (it covering it with a film that prevents that external agents to attack it).


Bombay Arts Society

But I’m going around the bush very fast: as I had said I’m in Bandra, Mumbai, India, and although you may not believe it I have not come here to drink the Bombay Sapphire, I have come to see this spectacular and unusual building: the Bombay Arts Society created by Sanjay Puri Architects in a display of architectural pleasure rarely seen…

The building is public and it intends to serve the community of artists, its owners are the institution called Society arts of Bombay, which it is a society of art with centuries of antiquity. It contains art galleries, a small auditorium, a coffee shop (a public building without coffee shop would be horrible!), and offices for the artists. The parcel where it is located has 1,300 square meters of surface and the construction of building has 1,000 square meters.


Some persons liken the building with the cubist sculptures of Henry Moore, clear that I won’t do it among other things because it is an absurd comparison. The characteristic shape is achieved making the outside structure with concrete reinforced, with this it is shaping to the material and it is make that the transmission of stress get to the foundations, so we avoid the construction of pillars and corners on the inside; this create spaces curved in both sides of the skin by setting some really special stays.


This type of building is the nightmare of the formwork workers and, at the same time, it is a challenge that will appeal to the most professional. The first thing that we must do is to identify well the singular points and repetitive elements. Why? Because we have to make unique formworks in the singular points and in the repetitive elements we can establish a pattern and make molds which help us in our work.

armado bombay 02

We have to take into account: the steel bars are elastics, this implies that if we bend it will tend to return to the position initial, in the parts where this phenomenon exists we will have to tie them very well to bars that maintain a position less stressed. So we avoid that in the future it can break the outer layer of concrete that covers them.

It is also good that we can guarantee the continuity of the concrete in the meeting point between ceilings and external walls, in other words: we do not fill the walls of concrete below the base of the ceiling into twenty or thirty centimetres; this will ensure a proper transmission of stress at that point.

I shiver of excitement thinking about beautiful forms that I can create with this material in my future construction! Bye bye!

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