Three specialized block products are now or soon will be on the market. One was developed for its aesthetic possibilities; one for improved resistance to water penetration; and one for reduced weight and increased productivity. FACETED FACE Polish architecture and philosophy student Jarmusch Kapusta has developed a unique masonry unit design called the K-Dron. Within a square module, the K-Dron combines a diamond shape, set at an angle from the vertical, and four triangles that fill in the corners to form two straight sides, one convex side, and one concave side. Though they can be used as a veneer, the units are loadbearing and accommodate steel reinforcement and grout. What fascinates about the K-Dron block is its response to light. The wall's faceted surface constantly changes its character with changes in the direction, color, and quality of light playing on it. DRAINAGE BLOCK A second new concrete masonry unit combines integral water repellent technology and carefully controlled porosity to reduce water penetration. Furthermore, refinements in the block's shape are designed to direct water that does penetrate the outer face shell down to flashing and out through weep holes. NEBRASKA A-BLOCK This specialty block product was developed for its potential impact on the construction process. The University of Nebraska Center for Infrastructure Research undertook to develop a high-performance concrete block. The goal was to combine a lightweight concrete mix with an optimized block shape to produce a unit weighing 19-pounds, but comparable to normal-weight block in compressive strength, absorption, and freeze-thaw durability. The shape was optimized through finite element analysis, reducing material volume by 20% without sacrificing strength.