PIGMENTED CONCRETE FAÇADE FINISHING
- Part 1
09 April 2020
Oscar R.H. Teng
Façade, have you ever wondered how do you read this word? Have you come across this word around while being in the construction industry? There have been multiple pronunciations in the construction industry especially in Malaysia. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, the proper pronunciation is /fə'sɑːd/ (Cambridge University Press, 2020), which in other words, it is similar to “Far – Sud”. According to the above dictionary, façade is defined as; the front of a building, especially a large or attractive building (Cambridge University Press, 2020) where in lay-man term, the make-up of the building.
Among the range of façade materials, concrete façade has its own unique character. It is believed that concrete façade serves to bridge between the design of ancient stone façade of castle like buildings to modernized unique curvy designs. This is due to concrete being ‘malleable’ which enable the shape of the concrete to be limitless as long as the mould can be fabricated.
Installation of pigmented concrete in progress, noon sun (LUXBEE, 2019)
With the advancement of concrete technology and knowledge, concrete façade has developed from painted concrete to stained concrete and further to pigmented concrete as the replacement of conventionally dull color concrete. To further explain pigmented concrete, it is the mixture of color pigments dispersing in the medium of cement mortar (binder) in order to create colored concrete when cured.
One of the recent building in Malaysia was constructed with it’s entire building covered with pigmented concrete as their façade curtain wall with combinations of aluminium-frame and glass is The Chow Kit Hotel located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Unsurprisingly, such distinguish design has won itself multiple press featurings including but not limited to; Monocle (UK);’Key Opening’ and The New York Times Online; ’52 Place To Go in 2020’ (Ormond Group, 2019).
The beauty of pigmented façade is the huge contrast of color depending on the time, light, and weather effect on the concrete. With all theses features, this is one of the reason why The Chow Kit was featured. At noon, the façade is more towards brown in color while evening, the color will turn slightly reddish. Even better, as night falls, the building will appear more amazing when the color appear to be brownish-red especially when the spot lights illuminated the façade.
(Left) The Chow Kit by Ormond Group,
evening sun (Ormond Group, 2019)
(Bottom) Side view of The Chow Kit by Ormond Group, night view (Ormond Group, 2019)
Apart from Malaysia, pigmented concrete is being used all over the world as façade. Pigmented concrete can be shaped into different shapes just like normal concrete. Below are some buildings from all over the world which are featured in both ‘Archdaily‘ website that present architecturally interesting building internationally and ‘Concrete Construction’ website where usage of concrete is often discussed.
The Casa das Historias Paula Rego
Built in year 2008, designed by architect Eduardo Souto de Moura. This building have two iconic red pigmented concrete pyramid-shape towers. Being a museum, having a timeless design using pigmented concrete has always been a choice by many architects.
Casa das Historias Paula Rego by Eduardo (ArchDaily, 2020)
L23 House by Pitagoras Group (ArchDaily, 2020)
L23 House (ArchDaily, 2020)
Built in 2011, designed by Pitagoras Group. This is a private house located on a slope of a higher point of Guimaraes city, Portugal. In order to outstand the house itself on a slope full of greens, black pigmented concrete façade was selected as a contrast on the hill.
Textilmacher (ArchDaily, 2020)
Built in 2013, designed by Tillicharchitektur. Textilmacher is an office building/showroom located in Munich, Germany. The building is designed for a company that does textile print and embroidery. Hence, the iconic geometry folded design is combined with grey pigmented concrete façade to represent the character of the textile company. Nevertheless, depending on the season,
Textilmacher by Tillicharchitektur (ArchDaily, 2020)
time, light shining on the building and the weather, the pigmented façade will change it character continuously.
Pigmented concrete façade is not limited to rectangular panels but can be designed to any forms. With different texture/shapes of pigmented concrete, we can achieve various kinds of finishing effects. We shall discuss about the finishing textures available for pigmented concrete in the next article.
ArchDaily. (2020, Mar 24). The Possibilities of Pigmented Concrete: 18 Buildings Infused With Color. Retrieved from ArchDaily:
Cambridge University Press. (2020). Cambridge Dictionary. Retrieved from
LUXBEE. (2019). Chow Kit Hotel work in progress. Retrieved from Facebook:
Ormond Group. (2019). The Chow Kit. Retrieved from Press:
Ormond Group. (2019). The Chow Kit. Retrieved from Gallery: