Ladies and gentlemen, dear congress attendees,
On 5 December 2012, famous Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer died at the age of almost 105. He concentrated almost exclusively on reinforced concrete at a very early stage and designed futuristic, plastic buildings using this material that featured soft, distinctly curvilinear contours but also a balanced relationship between open space and cubature. These are buildings of inestimable value! Niemeyer’s audacious, unconventional designs laid the foundation for his reputation as one of the most pre-eminent proponents and innovators of architectural Modernism. Reportedly he once quoted Heidegger, the philosopher, who said that “reason is the enemy of imagination”, thus clearly setting himself apart from the theme of reason that was at the very heart of the Bauhaus. Niemeyer once referred to this building material that shaped an entire century by saying: “Concrete is capable of touching the soul very deeply.” It’s all about what we make of it, after all.
Those colleagues in the industry who work with concrete should use Niemeyer’s motto as a piece of motivation for their daily work, for it is undisputed that concrete will continue to play its dominating role due to its performance and availability, thus making an outstanding contribution to creating value and “touching the soul”. All attendees of the 57th BetonTage enjoy a particularly motivating congress environment where they get first-hand information and insights into the state of the art of concrete engineering − in both research and practice. At the same time, the size and reputation of this event provide participants with the unique opportunity to share their views on latest trends and advancements with a wide range of industry experts. I wish all attendees new insights and inspiration, and the organizers every success in running the event.