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How Architects Are Making Concrete Walls Look Like Crumpled Paper

CityLab – “We’re pushing the limits of what this material can do,” says a designer behind the Kennedy Center’s new building, describing its experimental concrete treatments. “The Reach, the long-anticipated expansion of D.C.’s John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, opened to audiences on September 7 with a festival featuring the Kronos Quartet, the Chuck Brown Band, Trombone Shorty, the National Symphony Orchestra, and many more artists. The building, designed to draw in new audiences with more intimate stages, played a key role in all those performances. One of the design elements that visitors will likely notice right away is the “crinkle concrete” that lines the walls in several performance spaces. It’s a material developed by Steven Holl Architects specifically for the Kennedy Center expansion. For the Reach, the architects looked for ways to use concrete—acoustically and aesthetically—that haven’t been tried before. Garrick Ambrose, a senior associate at Steven Holl Architects and project architect for the Reach, talked to CityLab about these novel applications of an ancient building material…”

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