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Lecture Halls Made from Bubble-Wrapped Concrete

Friday, October 26, 2018

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An installation at the Karolinska Institutet in Stolkhom, Sweden, is making some noise with its innovative translucent panels—composed of concrete and bubble wrap.

The two lecture halls are described as amorphous space with unique acoustic qualities, as the material produces an echo-free environment.


Architect Tengom worked with manufacturer Butong to make the panels, which were created by compressing high-performance concrete between two layers of bubble wrap, giving the panels more than 260,000 cavities, which diffuse pitch, and 1million membrane perforations, which absorb noise.

Combined with the bubble-like shape and surface of the building, the interior is basically a noise-free setting.

The structure is comprised of 250 such panels, which needed formwork from 12 steel pieces for casting. The form was then filled with plastic granulate (which is reused) and hand-shaped to create the surface.

Brown terrazzo was chosen for the floor and LED lights surround the space, further allowing the piece to contrast with the rest of the lab environment in the building.

“The new feels newer and more complete when juxtaposed with something broken,” said architect Laila Ifwer Sternhoff at Link Arkitektur, during the opening ceremony for the lab this past spring.

“This is why we’ve used translucent concrete to create a sense of weight and antithesis against the new.”


Tagged categories: Aesthetics; Color + Design; concrete; Design

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