By Sun Kim
Posting in Architecture
In the capital city of Tbilisi, the renovated building is a large scale application of see through concrete.
The recently renovated headquarters of the Bank of Georgia holds almost 300 square meters of light transmitting concrete. The project is a large scale application of translucent concrete produced by LUCEM, a translucent concrete manufacturer based in Germany.
Originally constructed in 1975 for the Georgian Ministry of Highways, the building is now one of the architectural highlights of Tbilisi, the Republic of Georgia's capital city. AG&P (Architectural Group & Partners) injected transparency and light into the existing structure of solid, heavy concrete with a glass cube entrance and translucent concrete elements. The innovative material provides privacy and light in corridors, open space office partitions, and accent walls. The signature element is a glowing white cube in the entrance used for meetings with customers.
As discussed previously, the concrete appears translucent because of embedded optical fibers. The panels are often used with LEDs as a lighting source but can rely solely on daylight. The material is weatherproof, UV-resistant, abrasion-proof and not flammable. The diameters of the fibers and the distance between the fibers control the amount, quality, and patterns of light.
LUCEM emphasize that the see through effect changes throughout the day. Light, either natural or artificial, creates silhouettes on the surface and depending on the direction of the light, the silhouettes can appear sharper or more diffused. The company admits that the material is expensive but points out that it can be used in smaller sizes as accents.
Check out the Bank of Georgia headquarters website for an interactive building tour and augmented reality views.
Images: courtesy LUCEM
Related on Smart Planet: Concrete you can see through
Feb 22, 2012
That building is something only the communists could make. Don't take that the wrong way, it's just nobody builds anything innovative without public funding. It's sad/ironic that it's a bank now, I bet they got it cheap.
Since the light transmitting fibers could be any length they could enter anywhere on the panel and exit anywhere,, even on the same side, allowing the image to be scrambled to the extent desired and the allowed budget.
The problem is, is that would not be an efficient way of doing so. Light is energy and as something absorbs that energy it gets warmer. Likewise the building would also leak energy is a similar manner.