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Cocoon scoops Concrete Society awards

The spectacular ‘cocoon’ structure - an iconic eight-storey concrete shell at the centre of the Natural History Museum’s Darwin Centre Phase 2 - has been awarded Overall Winner at this year’s prestigious Concrete Society Awards.

Formed with a continuous sprayed reinforced-concrete shell, typically 250mm thick, the 65m-long cocoon provides a home for 20 million of the Natural History Museum’s plant and insect specimens and a working area for the research scientists. It also enables the public to interact with the scientists and the collections.

The Concrete Society’s judging panel praised the structure saying it will become, “a benchmark for the production of extreme shapes in concrete. The doubly curved surfaces could only have been achieved economically with sprayed in-situ concrete. The concrete structure is individual and extremely demanding to design and construct. It is a striking but harmonious contrast to the 19th Century original [building].”

The Annual Concrete Society Awards Dinner was held on Friday 13 November at the London Marriott Grosvenor Square. An audience of over 300 people saw the presentation of a number of project awards. The Society’s awards programme aims to recognise excellence in the use of concrete and this year’s scheme had three main categories - Building, Civil Engineering and Mature Structures.


The 2009 Building Category winner was Cardiff Central Library. The new library is a six-storey civic structure that has become one of the most iconic buildings in Cardiff. Having also achieved a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating at both design and post-construction stages of the assessment process it is the most sustainable building in the city centre. It has been built with an internally exposed concrete frame, providing thermal mass and reducing energy demand for heating and cooling.

Civil Engineering

The Infinity Bridge, Stockton-on-Tees was the winner of the 2009 Civil Engineering Category. The bridge makes an impressive impact on the Stockton skyline. It is a two-span bridge consisting of two arches that blend into a single form supporting the ultra-slim 125mm concrete bridge deck. The high-quality, post-tensioned reinforced deck, using of an exposed aggregate concrete, is the heart of Infinity Bridge.


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