Asphalt is the rugged, durable pavement favored by race car tracks and airport runways. The ubiquity of this highway and urban paving material is due to its ease of application and durability in all weather conditions. Yet when it comes to using asphalt as a design and architectural material, this versatile material is woefully underutilized.
Asphalt paving contractors are demonstrating asphalt's many uses as a versatile material in urban sustainable design. This black bituminous paving is proving to have few equals on cost, ease of installation, and design choices.
Colored Asphalt and Urban Sinks
Asphalt has become a foundation of smart, sustainable urban spaces. In some communities, colored asphalt is directing the flow of pedestrian traffic, and designating walking and bike paths.
On streets and highways, the low maintenance paving provides a smooth ride with low noise and stress on vehicles. Easy on the eyes, colored road markings and lane boundaries are easier to spot. When used to direct traffic, asphalt markings ease urban congestion and pollution.
All the while, light-colored asphalt is reflecting sunlight, controlling temperatures, and reducing carbon emissions. Warm-mix asphalt reduces temperatures by as much as 30 percent. New porous asphalts are sucking in greenhouse gas emissions and acting as carbon sinks. In the future, these sponges could offset the high CO2 emissions produced while making asphalt.
Patterns With Personality
One of asphalt's most remarkable transformations is the ability to restore the character and charm of a 19th century square or street. Asphalt paving contractors can stamp patterns onto asphalt. Autumn leaves and spring cherry blossoms are once again falling onto cobbled squares and brick sidewalks.
Landscape design is an inexpensive way to increase the value of property. Patterns can make a space look large and airy, influence the movement of pedestrians across a space, or add aesthetic value to a building or home. Marbleized asphalt can provide prestige to an address.
By integrating shapes and colors with nature, an Art Deco leisure space can be created in an urban jungle. A high percent of asphalt used today is reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP), supporting sustainable design.
Textures and Asphalt Architecture
Textured asphalt can add many dimensions to a landscape. Driveways, front lawns, and gardens are being redesigned using paving architecture concepts. Trellises and steps can be quickly and inexpensively created.
Unlike stone alternatives, because asphalt pavement does not have joints or uneven surfaces, grass and debris cannot protrude through the cracks and erode the material surface. Asphalt has good temperature resistant properties and durability.
Diverse asphalt prints with aesthetic and functional value are being made with 3D design software. An extensive and growing collection of choices are available. Many asphalt paving contractors will work with clients to produce custom designs.