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Centaur Street will give concrete a bad name

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Regarding de Rijke Marsh Morgan's Centaur Street housing (AJ 3.7.03), while the architects are to be congratulated for attempting to use in situ concrete, the illustration on page 31 shows detailing and execution is poor.

This gives concrete a bad name and makes life difficult for those who want to persuade clients to adopt this useful technique.

There is plenty of advice available from the days of the late, lamented CACA when detailing and finishing fair and boardmarked concrete was popular. One should be grateful the client and architect acknowledge they will do better next time.

The most offensive feature is the joint between the gallery floor and the parapet. A grout-check would have stopped grout loss and enhanced the appearance - even if the two concretes were a different shade. Sooner rather than later shrinkage and creep will begin, resulting in a crack along this line. These same effects will probably lead to diagonal cracking from the righthand end of the parapet where it meets the wall down to the top of the floor slab - another place where a grout-check detail would have been helpful.

The band of a lighter shade of concrete under the gallery is obviously the end of the adjoining floor. Two grout checks at the top and bottom of the floor would improve the appearance and better still if the area was fair-faced (smooth).

I suggest the concrete be painted with a mineral paint to even out the varying shades.

And what about those stairs with the high risers and no handrail? Deary me!

Robert Fraser, Stirling

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