National Theatre

Denys Lasdun and Partners, National Theatre, London 1967-76

Concrete

Concrete is made of cement, sand or broken stones, and water. The Romans had a recipe for concrete which included volcanic lava. They used it to build the dome that spanned the huge distance over the Pantheon in Rome. Before they invented concrete, this would have been impossible.

Raw concrete is easy to use and fireproof. It is excellent for making curves and interesting shapes. It can be poured into moulds to make sculpted forms. The French architect Le Corbusier also used concrete because it was cheap, easy to look after and he liked its natural, rough surface.