Plastic concrete façade

To integrate an Austrian museum extension with the existing building, a surprising combination of materials has been used.

Designed by local architects ukrowicz Nachbaur, the concrete façade has been decorated with a floral pattern, that’s made of plastic bottle ends. The museum is the Vorarlberg Museum, and is located in Bregenz (Austria).

The bottles were cast into concrete, leaving 4,5cm of the bottoms to poke out from the façade. Such PET bottles have been used in decoration more frequently, for instance in this colourful canopy.

Thirteen bottles were arranged to create the pattern on a basic template panel. The concrete would be constructed according to a 2x2m formwork frame, which informed the designer’s choices as to how the pattern could be repeated across the façade.

Casts were made of the plastic bottles by filling them with polyurethane. These were then attached to an MDF board and used as part of the formwork for the concrete, which was poured in 6m long panels. Pouring the concrete in very slowly ensures that very few bubbles are formed.

These panels are arranged in a semi-random pattern across the façade, like irregular dominoes. The effect is flowery, surprising and pleasing.

After this, the outside of the museum was sprayed with a hydrophobic coating. A finishing glaze completes the building.

Though it has very little to do with plants, the result is a neat way to liven up a concrete façade, adding a story to this museum’s construction at the same time.


Info and images via the architects: Cukrowicz Nachbaur.