It's concrete, Jim, but not as we know it.

Peter Cresswell's picture
Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Thu, 2006-04-06 02:38

Progress is unpredictable. Great ideas and advances in one field can impact unpredictably in others. And some of the best ideas are often obvious once they're done. Exhibit A: light-transmitting concrete.

Just add optical glass glass-fibres to concrete and, hey presto, light-transmitting concrete. I can't wait to use it. Smiling

LINKS: LiTraCon website [Hat tip Stephen Hicks]

TAGS: Architecture, Science

( categories: )

the Jefferson memorial

mvardoulis's picture

Would be the most *ideal* placement of this kind of lighting IMO; the only place I felt comfortable in the entire capital the one time I visited. And Jefferson, being an inventor and futurist, I'm certain would approve.

Credits and Correction

Stephen Boydstun's picture

19 June 2007 - The News Hour with Jim Lehrer

See also NY Times.

Correct Spelling: Nelson-Atkins

More Light

Stephen Boydstun's picture

From the NEWS HOUR interview of architect Steven Holl on his new building at the Nelson-Adkins Museum of Art in Kansas City:



JEFFREY BROWN: Steven Holl thought of the two buildings as complementary contrasts. He calls them stone and feather.

STEVEN HOLL: Now, this building is almost made out of light.

JEFFREY BROWN: Made out of light?

STEVEN HOLL: Yes, because, at night, the light starts to glow, and the cubes, these breathing T's, these lenses in the landscape, begin to emit light.

JEFFREY BROWN: What was the key thing for you in trying to mix the old and create something new?

STEVEN HOLL: That the new would be totally new and not be embarrassed or ever try to ape anything of the old.

JEFFREY BROWN: It all works because of specially made low-iron glass and insulation.

STEVEN HOLL: This material behind this glass is like polar bear hair. It's hollow. And it's like straw...

JEFFREY BROWN: Polar bear hair?

STEVEN HOLL: Just exactly like polar bear hair. You know, if you shave a polar bear, you see his skin is blue, right?

JEFFREY BROWN: No, I didn't know that.

STEVEN HOLL: Well, you haven't shaved a polar bear. But, you know, it's taking the sunlight and maximizing the insulation property. Now, that's what's happening behind these structural glass planks.

This material wasn't available 10, 15 years ago. I couldn't have done this building without that material. And that's a new material. And that's saying, you know, architecture is also about technology. It's about things that are new that allow us to do things we never could do before.


How about monuments?

Ross Elliot's picture

How about monuments? Consider The Statue of Liberty with a glowing plinth. An internally lighted Washington Monument. Concrete steps that light up as you walk on them. Street kerbing that glows to guide traffic.

Just wondering...

Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture

Peter: Is that title an obscure Star Trek parody song reference? Tip of the hat if yes. Smiling


Prima Donna's picture

I'm fascinated by this. My mind is racing trying to think of kitchen applications. Smiling

Peter, I can't wait to see the first project you use this for.

-- "Good God!! I thought that was the end. SOLO was out. My DSL was down to 2 mbps and I had a really nasty itch I couldn't reach." Ross Elliot

Mmm, applications? Problem

Ross Elliot's picture

Mmm, applications?

Problem might be that internal lights would cast shadows to the *outside* of the structure. Great for public toilets Smiling

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