The days of dull, grey concrete could be about to end. A Hungarian architect has combined the world's most popular building material with optical fiber from Schott to create a new type of concrete that transmits light. A wall made of Transparent concrete allegedly has the strength of traditional concrete but thanks to an embedded array of glass fibers can display a view of the outside world, such as the silhouette of a tree.
Thousands of optical glass fibers form a matrix and run parallel to each other between the two main surfaces of every block, explained its inventor ron Losonczi. Shadows on the lighter side will appear with sharp outlines on the darker one. Even the colours remain the same. This special effect creates the general impression that the thickness and weight of a concrete wall will disappear.
The hope is that the new material will transform the interior appearance of concrete buildings by making them feel light and airy rather than dark and heavy.
Transparent concrete is a combination of optical fibres and fine concrete.
It can be produced as prefabricated building blocks and panels. Due to the small size of the fibres, they blend into concrete becoming a component of the material like small pieces of aggregate. In this manner, the result is not only two materials - glass in concrete - mixed, but a third, new material, which is homogeneous in its inner structure and on its main surfaces as well.
Transparent concrete the glass fibres lead light by points between the two sides of the blocks, because of their parallel position, the light-information. On the brighter side of such a wall appears unchanged on the darker side. The most interesting form of this phenomenon is probably the sharp display of shadows on the opposing side of the wall. Moreover, the colour of the light also remains the same.
Thousands of optical glass fibres form a matrix and run parallel to each other between the two main surfaces of each block. The proportion of the fibres is very small (4%) compared to the total volume of the blocks. Moreover, these fibres mingle in the concrete because of their insignificant size, and they become a structural component as a kind of modest aggregate. Therefore, the surface of the blocks remains homogeneous concrete.
As the most typical applicable field, transparent concrete can be used as building material for walls. In this way, both sides and also the thickness of the new building material are visible. Therefore, the heaviness and solidity of concrete, the basic material of concrete, is more perceptible. Likewise, the contrast between the light and the material becomes sharper.
Transparent concrete can be used for exterior and also for interior walls; impregnation of the surface is possible. If sunshine illuminates the transparent concrete wall structure, eastern or western siting is recommended. Therefore, the rays of the rising and the setting sun can reach the optical glass fibres in a lower angle and the intensity of the passing light will be bigger.
Due to the solidity of transparent concrete, it is possible to use the material as a load-bearing structure. If needed, reinforcement of transparent concrete is also possible. Transparent concrete products will be manufactured in heat-insulated forms as well. This product is under development at present.
In addition to the traditional applications (walls), the light transmitting concrete can be also used as wall covering illuminated from the back.
One of our most exciting applications is the usage of transparent concrete as passable surface illuminated from below. During the day, it looks like that the surface is a simple concrete pavement. At sunset the paving blocks start to shine, even in different colours. This product is under development at present.
The transparent concrete building units are applicable in various areas of design. Light transmitting concrete was succesfully used in many different ways, such as concrete jewel and illuminated concrete bench. Probably the most interesting application is transparent concrete use as a logo. Colourful figures, inscriptions, and pictures can be displayed on the logos.
Transparent concrete, as a building material, is a long-standing wish for architects. This wish came true with the appearance of Litracon. The contrast that lies behind the material will provide an astonishing experience to the spectators for a long time. Nowadays, many artists would like to use Litracon in their works.
Losonczi, a 27 year old architect from Csongr?d recently came up with the idea while he was studying at the Royal University College of Fine Arts in Stockholm, Sweden. After demonstrating the material at design exhibitions all over Europe he has now formed a company to commercialize the concept.
His new company, also called LitraCon, is now optimizing its manufacturing methods and hopes to start selling prefabricated blocks of the material.
BUILDING BLOCKS DESIGN :
If the transparent concrete wall structure needs reinforcement, the following solution can be applied: There are grooves in each concrete blocks. While building the walls, one places reinforcement in these grooves ? whether horizontally or vertically. The optical fibers ? because they are flexible- go around the steel rod; therefore the reinforcement remains invisible. LitraCon applied this solution successfully in the Europe Gate and many installations in exhibitions.
Colours and textures :
In addition to the regular grey colour, Litracon? buliding blocks are manufactured in other colours as well. The external texture of these blocks can also vary.
The size and the arrangement of the fibers can differ in each Litracon block. In what follows are some of the various ways the fibers can be arranged in each block ? it can be a regular matrix-like or even an organic woodcut-like.
Form: prefabricated blocks/panels
concrete, optical fiber
concrete, optical fiber
Width: max 600mm
Height: max 300mm
Heat-insulation:? possible (under development)
All other technical data are under testing.
LITRA CUBE LAMP
LitraCon would like to draw the LitraCube lamp, one of their most successful products, to your attention. LitraCon have delivered this custom- built lamps with serial numbers to all parts of the world. This new Litracon? based lamp consists of four identical pieces of concrete. Due to special geometry, these pieces form a stable structure without fixing them together.
Alad?r CSONTOS ?ron LOSONCZI
W190 x L190 x H202mm
E14 ~ 230V~ 40W
wooden box ??
EUR 570.- + shipping
You can see company logo in the above image percolating through a 1000x400mm grey Litracon plate. If you turn off the light behind it, a piece of ordinary concrete will appear. Due to the great variety of the material, Litracon are ready to provide logo in various sizes - even with colour letters or images!
Liquid Stone, National Building Museum, Washington D.C. (USA)
Big5, Dubai (UAE)
Betongfeber, Stockholm (S)
SAIE fair, Bologne (I)
Big Sight, Tokyo (JP)
Domus Night in San Siro, Milan (I)
BAU2005, Munich (D)
Glasstech, D?sseldorf (D)
PLAN04, Cologne, (D)
FORMADE, Gallery Framework, Berlin (D), Vienna (AUT)
Hungarian Architecture Today, R.I.B.A., London-Glasgow (UK)
K?zben, M?csarnok-Kunsthalle, Budapest (H)
Arkitekturmuseet, Stockholm (S)
The international jury of German Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen gave the 'red dot: best of the best' award for highest design quality to Litracon. Inventor ?ron LOSONCZI recieved the red dot trophy in Essen (D) on 4th July, 2005.
Litracon is nominated for the ?Design Award of the Fed. Republic of Germany? 2006 by German Design Council. The Design Award is the official recognition of excellence in design offered by the Federal Republic of Germany. It is the central thrust in the campaign of the Federal German Ministry of Ecomics and Technology to promote good design.
Load-bearing structures can also be built from the blocks as glass fibers do not have a negative effect on the well-known high compressive strength of concrete. The blocks can be produced in various sizes with embedded heat isolation too.? Transparent concrete can be used for exterior and also for interior walls
Transparent concrete, as a building material, is a long-standing wish for architects. Transparent concrete can be used in all places where transparency, strength, and safety are required.
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