Concrete may be the most widely-used man-made construction material today, but its soaring, acrobatic qualities (first put into large-scale use by the ancient Romans) had been forgotten for hundreds of years before it was redeveloped in the mid-18th century.
However, it wasn’t until the post-war period that concrete really got its boost thanks to the development of concrete reinforced with steel bars (rebar) and a cultural sense of optimism that architecturally manifested itself in cantilevering, gravity-defying shapes and forms. All around the world -- from the United States to Brazil, Mexico to Bangladesh, everyone was enthralled with the wonders of concrete.
Today, concrete continues to be used in an impressively broad range of spaces and scales, from countertops to massive infrastructure projects. Here, we take a look at some impressive contemporary structural and architectural feats accomplished with concrete, ranging from the soaring highways of Los Angeles to the cantilevered kitchen counter of an Italian architect.