New skin for aging Sydney 60s icons | LAVA
1960s icons could receive a muchneeded facelift thanks to an innovative plan called ‘reskinning’. Multinational architectural practice, Laboratory for Visionary Architecture (LAVA), has developed a simple, cost effective, easily constructed skin that promises to transform these tired icons into sustainable and stunning buildings.
“A speculative project, ‘Tower Skin’, for the University of Technology [UTS] Broadway Tower in Sydney, Australia offers a unique opportunity to transform the identity, sustainability and interior comfort of the once state‐of‐the‐art building,” said Chris Bosse, Australian director of LAVA. It can easily be applied to 1960s icons across the world.
Tower Skin is a transparent cocoon that acts as a high performance ‘micro climate’. It generates energy with photo‐voltaic cells, collects rain water, improves day lighting and uses available convective energy to power the towers’ ventilation requirements.
The Tower is wrapped with three‐dimensional lightweight, high performance composite mesh textile. Surface tension allows the membrane to freely stretch around walls and roof elements achieving maximum visual impact with minimal material effort. As day turns to night, Tower Skin becomes a dynamic sculpture on Sydney’s skyline, an intelligent media surface, communicating information such as performances and campus events in real time.
The proposal integrates principles of architecture, fashion, media and communication design into a new hybrid solution. “A re‐skinned UTS Tower could be an example of sustainability, innovation, cutting edge design and creative education, without demolishing and rebuilding the 1960s icon,” added Bosse. When it was built the Broadway tower was cutting edge, with latest building technologies and principles that have partially become obsolete.
The proposals continue LAVA’s ongoing research for sustainable public architecture by combining lightweight contemporary materials with the latest digital fabrication technologies.
Plans for Tower Skin are on display at STATE. RESPOND. Exploring sustainable design, Object Gallery, Sydney from 6 February – 28 March 2010.