Concrete Advice on Improving the Environment

The pressure on the environment of building during the past 5000 years can be observed clearly from the air. In a recent lecture at the Society of Chemical Industry (SCI), aerial photographer and concrete specialist Christopher Stanley illustrated the evolution of construction and its lasting impact, from stone circles to skyscrapers.

Stanley’s lecture ‘Managing the environment: a perspective from land, air and sea’ followed the presentation of the 2002 SCI Environment Medal in recognition of his contributions to improving the built environment. A Fellow of the Institute of Concrete Technology, Hong Kong, Christopher Stanley identified the constraints caused by environmental concerns on quarrying and aggregate supplies in the region. Previously, waste concrete from demolitions was just tipped into Hong Kong bay, but there is now a move to crush concrete and reuse it as an aggregate in new building work.

Stanley explained that the development of communities, from hamlets to towns to the modern metropolis, has left its mark on the environment. The advent of new building materials and the change in social patterns within modern developments has also altered the environments in which people live and work.

He said ‘as greater demand is placed on the maximum use of space in some major cities, every metre of land tends to be clad in concrete. Although it is performing a useful function, its image tends to be tarnished by developments that do not blend into, or complement, the landscape’. Stanley recommended that architects should closely liase with materials engineers, ensuring that the possibilities of concrete are carefully balanced with environmental considerations.

Christopher Stanley has had a long and distinguished career in the construction industry as a researcher, lecturer, consultant and author. A keen pilot, Stanley has used his flying skills to build an impressive library of aerial photography, many of which have appeared in books such as ‘Britain’s Coastline: A History from the Air’ and ‘The Thames: A History from the Air’.

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Kelly Quigley alphagalileo

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