Concrete with translucency sets special effects through play of light and shadow

Lucem GmbH as Manufacturers

In the new construction of the Capital Bank in Amman, Jordan, LUCEM Lichtbeton has been used for the first time worldwide as the cantilevered walls of the façade. The most common application of translucent concrete is in the form of a curtain wall, where LUCEM concrete panels are mounted in front of LED light sources that illuminates the concrete. However, the material has even more potential, as the current project shows. By moving the light source farther away from the concrete panels, there will be space for a very special, dynamic effect: the silhouettes of the people in the building are projected through the translucent concrete panels like a shadow theater. People inside the building experience the change of light and shadow during the day as the sunlight shines through the walls.


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The new Capital Bank VIP branch is located in an elegant residential area in one of the most exclusive neighborhoods of the Jordanian capital Amman: Cairo Street in Abdoun. Creating a “boutique bank” experience for VIP customers was the requirement of the design concept of the bank building. An exceptional atmosphere and inviting design should include nature as the basic theme.


The appearance of the building should be emphasized from the neighboring buildings, but at the same time harmoniously integrated into the overall picture. Thus, in line with the local stone architecture, the façade was clad in Taffouh stone. Only minimal openings in the façade protect the privacy of the neighbors as well as the bank employees and customers.

 

The team of architect Saja Nahashibi, founding partner of PARADIGM DH, Amman, came up with the requirement for a unique appearance using LUCEM translucent concrete panels. The 14-meter-high stairwell, made of self-supporting LUCEM light-concrete walls, was realized worldwide for the first time and until now uniquely. The 30 mm thick LUCEM light concrete panels are mounted on a steel structure above undercut anchors. The design was based on the idea that nature flows through the staircase in the form of light and shadow plays. With the use of translucent light concrete, the architects and lighting planners are setting a striking example of how external walls can dissolve the contradiction between massiveness and lightness through translucency.

 

Not backlit, LUCEM looks like light concrete or natural stone. This is matched in color to the façade of the bank. When light concrete is backlit by sunlight or artificial light, millions of embedded optical fibers transmit the back-incident light through the material. This creates a translucent look and an exciting light and shadow effect.

 

During the daytime, the stairwell is illuminated by the daylight that falls through the light concrete walls. At twilight and at night, the stairwell is lit from the inside. As the light is transmitted through the fiberglass walls through the optical fibers, the stairwell appears translucent to the outside. People in the stairwell are projected as shadows through the light concrete walls. The closer people walk along a wall, the more accentuated the shadow falls. The vertical LED stripes are integrated over the entire height of the stairwell in the design of the handrail of a steel/wood construction. In the case of colored lighting, the stairwell shines outwards accordingly in colored light.

 

In addition to the use of translucent LUCEM light concrete panels, the team of architects decided to use LUCEM PURE concrete panels without fiber-optic fibers to cover non-translucent areas of the façade. This results in a combination of translucent and non-translucent LUCEM concrete panels with the same cement/sand mixture and surface finish in the same look.

 

In order to give the interior design a “boutique” character, the traditional banking concept has been replaced by an approach that is privately, exclusively and individually tailored to the needs of VIP customers. The switch and waiting areas with traditional queuing concept have been replaced by individual office “boxes” as well as lobby and reception areas, which are tailored to all customers’ needs. The theme of nature has been integrated into the design by designing an open-plan courtyard inside the building, which is inspired by the design of Japanese Zen gardens. A modern crystal chandelier, like an artistic installation reminiscent of fluttering birds, fills the center of the room almost to the ground. A sculptural-looking olive tree forms the optical center. The offices, lobby areas, staircases and corridors around the courtyard have a fascinating view through glass walls and glass balustrades. In lobby and reception areas, the counters are also made of LUCEM light concrete panels. The ATM areas inside and outside were also designed with a backlit translucent concrete wall. 


Capital Bank VIP Branch

Paradigm DH (Paradigm design house) as Architects

Capital Bank VIP brank is located in a residential area in one of the most exclusive neighborhoods of Jordan’s capital Amman in Abdoun. For the main elevation, Paradigm DH Team lead by Managing Director and Principal Architect Saja Nashashibi has decided to use LUCEM translucent concrete panels, as self-Supporting one of a kind walls on the external façade. This treatment made this project the first in the world to use this material in this technique. In addition to the use of translucent concrete panels, PDH decided to use Plain concrete panels without fiber-optics to cover non-translucent parts of the façade using the same cement / sand mixture while maintaining similar surface finish matching the color of the stone used on the facades to maintain its harmony with the residential surroundings.


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Capital Bank VIP brank is located in a residential area in one of the most exclusive neighborhoods of Jordan’s capital Amman in Abdoun. Creating a "boutique bank" experience triggered the design concept of this branch introducing a sense of belonging and a welcoming design influenced by nature.


To create a “boutique” experience, the traditional bank experience had to be replaced with an approach that is private, luxurious and catered to the customer’s needs. The teller counters and waiting areas with traditional queuing approach, were replaced with individual office "boxes", lobby and reception areas which were designed to accommodate for all the customer's needs. Nature theme was incorporated in the design by first placing separate masses for the offices within the main mass of the building around a double volume void that contained an inner court which was influenced by Japanese Zen gardens. It was emphasized by a crystal chandelier flowing above a sculptural olive tree that acts as a focal point for the entire space. The office masses were then individually shifted from each other in order for the void to become more fluid and thusly create unique interior views and spaces as the user walks through the circulation corridor.


The previously mentioned shifting masses of the offices translated into shifted planes and masses of the exterior main front and side façades. The remaining side & back facades had minimal treatment with minimal openings and were cladded with Taffouh Stone, this was to respect the adjacent neighbors’ privacy as well as the branch users’ privacy maintaining the alignment with the local vernacular stone architecture. However, the main side elevation’s transparent glass curtain wall opens to the inner court, further enhancing the continuation of space from the exterior to the interior and vice versa. As for the main elevation Paradigm DH Team lead by the Managing Director and Principal Architect Saja Nashashibi has decided to use LUCEM translucent concrete panels, as self-Supporting one of a kind walls on the external façade, these concrete panels are made with fiber optics incorporated in them where light can pass through. This treatment made this project the first in the world to use this material in this technique, free of any boundaries and as opaque as it could be. In addition to the use of translucent concrete panels, PDH decided to use Plain concrete panels without fiber-optics to cover non-translucent parts of the façade using the same cement / sand mixture while maintaining similar surface finish matching the color of the stone used on the facades to maintain its harmony with the residential surroundings.


The typical application of translucent concrete was to fix the concrete panels directly in front of LED light panels that lit up the concrete artificially. However, this did not take full advantage of the potential of the material, therefore moving the artificial light further away from the concrete panels achieved a more dynamic effect by having the silhouettes of the people inside projected onto the translucent concrete panels seen from the outside, creating a “shadow theater. And inversely, people inside will experience the change of light and shadow throughout the day sunlight as projected on the panels from the outside to the inside.


The result was achieved by cladding a 14-meter-high stairwell with translucent concrete panels that are mechanically fixed, keeping the supporting structure exposed from the inside with the lights that illuminate the translucent concrete, PDH opted for vertical lights that span the full height of the stairwell while having this 30mm thick LUCEM panels mounted on steel/wood columns and incorporated into the design of the handrail. The reception counters and ATM areas were also made with a backlit translucent concrete Panels.


The idea of nature that flows through the staircase in the form of light and shadow plays was the main idea of the design. With the use of translucent concrete, the architects and lighting engineers are setting a striking example of how external walls can solve the contradiction between massiveness and lightness through translucency.

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ManufacturersLucem GmbH
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