Amazing Transparent Cement
Architectural triumph: The Italian pavilion at last year’s Expo in Shanghai is the only building constructed with ‘transparent’ cement to date.
A team of architects have created a ‘transparent cement’ that lets light pour into a room so that the walls look like giant windows.
The material, called i.light, has dozens of tiny holes in it which lets light through without compromising the structural integrity.
Up close, the 2-3mm gaps make a startling pattern and from certain angles or at a distance appear exactly the same as normal concrete.
But on a sunny day inside a building made from the cement, the effect is akin to little more than a light mesh on the wall filtering the light coming in.
During the day and when viewed upon head on, the Italian pavilion appeared similar a normal cement building. But from the inside, at night or when viewed at an angle, the building takes on an ethereal quality not characteristic of concrete. Though i.light has so far only been demonstrated in this building, its relatively low cost and potential for energy saving points towards a promising commercial future.
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