Magazine article The Wilson Quarterly

Enlightened Architecture

Magazine article The Wilson Quarterly

Enlightened Architecture

Article excerpt

"X-Ray Architecture" by Ken Shulman, in Metropolis (Apr. 2001), 61 W. 23rd St., New York, N.Y. 10010.

For four years, Bill Price, a lecturer in the University of Houston College of Architecture, has been working on an invention that could be architecture's next cool thing, dramatically changing the way buildings (and other things) look and function: translucent concrete.

Price's quest began when he was director of research and development for the Office of Metropolitan Architecture, the Rotterdam firm of avant-garde architect Rem Koolhaas. "Could we make the concrete translucent?" Koolhaas asked at a meeting about a concert hall the firm was designing. "Koolhaas may have been the first to utter the words," notes Shulman, a Metropolis contributing editor, "but there's no question that it's Price's baby."

Price began a systematic analysis of concrete to find out which of its elements--aggregate (usually crushed gravel), binder (customarily cement), reinforcement (normally steel rods), and form--or which combination of elements, could best be made to transmit light. …

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