Not surprisingly, designers and artists have discovered that concrete is a living material that responds to their hands and then goes on from this responsive plastic state to become a hardened, permanent, complete expression of the artist's intent. These features and concrete's versatility of appearance as a building material, compatibility for use with diverse other structural materials, and the many techniques by which it can be used at the jobsite add up to an impressive array of assets. What other building material exists that we can pump, pour, cast, spray, trowel, mold, form and carve? Our ability to adjust the physical characteristics of concrete to a host of application techniques is further reason why the material has found its way into such an assortment of uses.

For example, Norwegian sculptor Carl Nesjar created a 28-foot-tall reinforced concrete replica of Picasso's famous model titled "The Bather." It is a folded plate sculpture weighing about 50 tons. Using a sandblasting gun, Nesjar exposed portions of the aggregate, creating exact lines of design in the sculpture that reproduced every subtlety of line and form Picasso had drawn into his original model.

Ferrocement, a system employing thin sections of high-strength mortar reinforced with multiple layers of wire mesh and small diameter rebars, has been used to build concrete boats throughout the world. Sailboats built of ferrocement have won many races against wood boats in their design class. Concrete was also used to build a "cliff" that serves as one wall of an English sports center. The unique building exterior provides a full-scale rock cliff which is used by mountain climbing enthusiasts for instruction and skill sharpening. The cliff face was created from impressions made with laminations of polyester resin and glass fiber at suitable locations in the Derbyshire peaks. These impressions were then shipped to a factory where they were fitted into timber frames to form 10- to 12-foot molds.