Plinthos Pavilion, showing backlit brick wall. Images courtesy of MAB Architecture.
The desire to dematerialize solid materials by incorporating light transmission capabilities has inspired the development of products like fiber optic-infused concrete and highly perforated buildings by architects like Kengo Kuma—who claims that he wants to "erase architecture" by eradicating solidity.
In a recent exhibition, Athens-based MAB architecture presents their own version of dematerialized substance. Unlike light-transmitting concrete or Kuma's works, however, MAB's installation boasts an incredibly low-tech and inexpensive approach. The so-called Plinthos Pavilion is constructed of rudimentary clay bricks that are simply stacked on-end so that the vertical voids are oriented horizontally—allowing the passage of light, air, and sound through the wall. From oblique angles, the wall appears to be a conventional textured brick surface—but a direct view reveals a high-degree of porosity with far greater "resolution" than a traditional staggered brick garden wall.
Although MAB's cunning transformation of brick via its misuse would require special structural reinforcing and rain protection for facade applications, it demonstrates the extent to which design innovation can originate from the simplest and most cost-effective ideas.