Gone are the times when concrete was associated with bulky slabs used as road art on construction sites or boring rectangular paving slabs. Today, concrete slabs and cubes have an interesting design and impeccable aesthetics, which is why they are the most frequently chosen material for representative walks in the city center, in recreation areas or walking streets.
They also have excellent technical standards, and many of the solutions are environmentally oriented. A good example is perforated concrete slabs, which are often used for the construction of car park surfaces. Concrete pots or walls are an element of arranging pocket gardens or small green recreational areas. Precast concrete blocks allow you to create a space that is both functional and aesthetic and, above all, a green urban space.
Environmentally friendly car parking
The growing awareness of the need to use ecological solutions in urban spaces has made parking lots with sidewalks made of perforated concrete panels very popular. It enables rain to drain directly into the soil. As a result, moisture remains in the ground, which positively affects the microclimate in the city. In addition, the lawn is often planted in the holes in the plates and thus biologically active surfaces are created.
Green car parks can be made, for example, from panels such as Polbruk Meba or Greengo. The most interesting solution, in terms of design, is Greengo. It is a square dish 40 x 40 cm with round holes.
They are connected to each other by straight or slightly wavy lines, which gives the aircraft an interesting dynamic look. Greengo is available in two cool colors – gray and graphite. A more classic solution often used in parking lots is the Polbruk Meba board.
It has a size of 40×60 cm and square holes connected to each other in the form of straight lines. It comes in two shades of gray (gray and graphite) and a shade of red. Also worth noting is the Ekol cube. It has a regular square shape and its size resembles the granite paving stones that were once located in the city center.
It does not have perforations, like Meba or Greengo, but is designed so that upon contact with elements with special protrusions, spaces are created that allow water to penetrate into the soil. In this way, a biologically active space is created between the cubes. Ekol paving stone is recommended not only for parking lots, but also for roofs in the city center due to its classic and modern appearance.
City centers are a kind of modern megalopolis salon. They usually cover the historical part with the most important monuments, but more often they extend further, reaching recreation areas or walking streets.
Due to preservation conditions, the original surface made of cubes of granite, marble or other natural stones was left behind in the city’s historic quarters. However, when this is not necessary, parks and squares are lined with concrete slabs or cubes. This is due to the interesting functionality and aesthetics of precast concrete elements, as well as the fact that they often resemble natural raw materials.
They are durable, which is very important in high traffic places, such as urban centers, and are cheaper than their traditional stone counterparts. The range of products available is really wide here. At the same time, we must always remember that the concept of arranging urban spaces must go beyond the design of the sidewalks of the center or pedestrian streets, because it leads to the vernacular known as concrete. It should include the creation of various types of green areas that can be arranged with the help of street furniture.
The ideal practical solution for squares is Magna Tile Dimensions 100 x 75 cm and 50 x 75 cm, in inconspicuous shades of gray and beige. Due to its thickness of 8 and 10 cm, it is suitable for both pedestrian traffic and vehicles weighing more than 3.5 tons.
This means that the courtyard arranged from it can be used to organize different types of concerts or other public events. Magna boards can also be used in amusement parks, just like the Urbanik cube or the MultiComplex.
Such solutions are ideal for such “city showrooms”. Urbanika includes items in three sizes: 15 x 30, 20 x 30 and 25 x 30 cm and two fabrics – soft and washed. Both versions have gained wide recognition in urban spaces.
It can be seen, among other things, around the stadiums in Pozna and Kraków. Urbanika has also been used for walking and recreation spaces, such as Central Park in Olsztyn or Tadeusz Kościuszko Square in Gdynia.
MultiComplex is an alternative proposal for city parks. It’s available in three sizes and seven colours, giving the surface a fun and representative look. It is also worth paying attention to the Triada cube, which has an economical design and fits perfectly into the urban landscape.
It works great in modern spaces, but also suits parks in more classic spaces. It has a soft feel and is available in three sizes: 20 x 30 cm, 20 x 40 cm and 20 x 50 cm, and universal gray: Nerino, onyx, steel, gray and graphite.
Green micro-zones and pocket parks in cities
Squares, parks, and streets in the city are not everything. A very important place in the city center is also relaxation spaces, where you can relax amidst the greenery. Hence, in the second half of the twentieth century, pocket gardens began to appear in large cities, i.e. small spaces for leisure and recreation arranged in a compact urban development. Their fashion came to Europe and Poland from the USA.
This is also where precast concrete elements are used, not only as surfaces, but also as small architectural elements, used to build benches and frames for garden green spaces. The return of green spaces to urban space is a very important topic for the development and future of cities.
Small green areas are an alternative to pocket gardens for relaxation. These assumptions are also implemented using precast concrete elements. A good example is “Zielony Kącik”, the construction of which is planned near the Kielce railway station.
Zielony Kącik will be implemented as part of the Green Patronage of Kielce program in cooperation with the city and Polbruk. In the meticulous area of Kielce, between the neo-wall benches with wooden benches, are pots with plants.. Above the central part of the miniature area, a pergola will be created for climbing plants, which will create a green roof that will provide shade in the summer season.
Greenery in cities is now a very important component of their planning. City dwellers are explicitly demanding both new parks built in former post-industrial areas and a more sustainable, and therefore environmentally, approach to city planning.
Precast concrete in the city is today the main building material. Thanks to them, you can create roofs, elements of micro-architecture, make green spaces protected and correctly display in urban space, create visually attractive areas for recreation and relaxation in combination with other elements of urban landscapes.
Source and photos: Polbruk SA
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