LUCEM Lichtbeton - An inventive fusion of raw materials and fiber optics, LUCEM light transmitting precast concrete panels add dimension to any space/ façade through visual displays of color and shadow. Each panel consists of fine-grained marble set in a cement base, embedded with less than 3 percent of durable and non-flammable translucent fibers that transmit light by natural or artificial( RGB-LED) sources. Panel surface treatments include polished, sheen or matte.

Lucem Lichtbeton - Ruhnau Ruhnau Clarke
Lucem Lichtbeton - Ruhnau Ruhnau Clarke

Sensitile Terrazzo - Sensitile Systems Sensitile’s sustainable interactive concrete is composed of polymer modified cement embedded with light conducting channels. Through Total Internal Reflection, surfaces are galvanized as light moves from multiple surface points in response to shadows, active light sources and colors.

Sensitile Terrazzo Sensitile Michigan Factory Showroom - Ruhnau Ruhnau Clarke
Sensitile Terrazzo Sensitile Michigan Factory Showroom - Ruhnau Ruhnau Clarke

Graphic Concrete - Graphic concrete produces virtually any custom design on prefabricated concrete surfaces such as facades, walls and pavement slabs. Concrete is cast on a membrane with printed images and a surface retarder. Washing away the retarder reveals the desired image from the contrast between the fair face and the exposed aggregate surface.

Graphic Concrete, Albert Edelfelt School - Ruhnau Ruhnau Clarke
Graphic Concrete, Albert Edelfelt School - Ruhnau Ruhnau Clarke
Graphic Concrete, Kangasala Senior Secondary School - Ruhnau Ruhnau Clarke
Graphic Concrete, Kangasala Senior Secondary School - Ruhnau Ruhnau Clarke

Geopolymer Concrete - UNC Solar Decathlon House An environmentally friendly alternative to classic concrete is geopolymer concrete. Geopolymers, such as fly ash, are used as a binding agent thus eliminating the need for Portland cement which is currently a culprit of high CO2 emissions. This product also boasts a higher resistance to corrosion and fire, high compressive and tensile strengths and less shrinkage.

geopolymer - Ruhnau Ruhnau Clarke
geopolymer - Ruhnau Ruhnau Clarke

UHPFRC- Ultra-high-performance fiber reinforced concrete - Musee des Civilisations The perception of concrete as a heavy and opaque material is challenged in the Musee des Civilisations, The pre-stressed concrete skin has been heavily carved out to emulate fine filigree. In order to achieve this feat, an ultra-high- performance fiber reinforced concrete was used. This material is denser, making it less permeable and more suitable for marine environments. It is also 6-8 times stronger in compression than typical concrete.

UHPRC- 39, Lisa Ricciotti - Ruhnau Ruhnau Clarke
UHPRC- 39, Lisa Ricciotti - Ruhnau Ruhnau Clarke

FibreC fiberglass concrete[C] - Space pavilion FibreC is a product by the Rieder company which incorporates layers of glassfibre in its concrete. These fibers substitute steel as a means for reinforcement. This ultimately allows for a “slim” concrete, as thin as a ½” slab, with high flexural strength. The [C] Space pavilion in London exemplified an innovative design with this versatile material.

fibre-c SPACE Pavilion London - Ruhnau Ruhnau Clarke
fibre-c SPACE Pavilion London - Ruhnau Ruhnau Clarke

Each material has its specific characteristics which we must understand if we want to use it … This is no less true of steel and concrete [than of wood, brick, and stone]. We must remember that everything depends on how we use a material, not on the material itself… New Materials are not necessarily superior. Each material is only what we make of it … We must be as familiar with the functions of our buildings as with our materials. We must learn what a building can be, what it should be, and also what it must not be… And just as we acquaint ourselves with materials, just as we must understand functions, so we must become familiar with the psychological and spiritual factors of our day. No cultural activity is possible otherwise; for we are dependent on the spirit of our time.” Mies Van der Rohe (from his inaugural address at the Illinois Institue of Technology, 1938)