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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

Tower Skin in Sydney, Australia by Laboratory for Visionary Architecture

June 21st, 2011 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: LAVA

What initially began as a speculative proposal to reshape the UTS tower on Broadway has evolved into a broader architectural idea for re-purposing inefficient or outdated buildings as an alternative to demolishing and rebuilding ( which comes with a huge financial and environmental expense) LAVA has developed a simple, cost effective and easily constructed building skin that can potentially transform the identity, sustainability and interior comfort of an existing structure such as the UTS tower.

UTS Tower Night (Image Courtesy LAVA)

  • Architects: Laboratory for Visionary Architecture/LAVA
  • Project: Tower Skin
  • Location:Sydney, Australia
  • Team: Chris Bosse, Tobias Wallisser, Alexander Rieck,  Jarrod Lamshed, Erik Escalante, Esan Rahmani, Niklas Muehlich, Kim Ngyuen Ngoc, Anh-Dao Trinh, Jonas Epper  Stefan Bassing, Simone Martin,

Goulburn Before View (Image Courtesy LAVA)

  • Model with the great support of: Andrew Southwood-Jones, Catherine Zhuang, Christen Meli, Alexander Kashin
  • Sustainability concept: Ross Harding from Advanced Environmental.
  • Structural advice: Prof Max Irvine
  • Membrane advice: Daniel Cook, Mak Max

Goulburn Street Carpark After night (Image Courtesy LAVA)

The ‘skin’ is a translucent cocoon that can create its own ‘micro climate’. It can generate its own energy with photo-voltaic cells, could collect rain water, improve the distribution of natural daylight and it can use available convective energy to power the building’s ventilation requirements.

UTS Night Light (Image Courtesy LAVA)

A pre-existing building is wrapped with three-dimensional lightweight, high performance composite mesh textile. Surface tension allows the membrane to freely stretch over a light steel frame around walls and roof elements achieving maximum visual impact with minimal material effort.

UTS Look Down View (Image Courtesy LAVA)

The skin with embedded LED strips could act as an intelligent media surface and be used for dynamic animation and to communicate information into the public realm – effectively integrating principles of architecture, fashion, media and communication design into a new hybrid typology.

UTS Look Up View (Image Courtesy LAVA)

“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,” says Chris Bosse, Director of LAVA.  ”When it was built the Broadway tower was cutting edge, with latest building technologies and principles that have partially become obsolete.”

UTS Tower Day (Image Courtesy LAVA)

The reskinning technology could be easily applied to other buildings in need of a facelift such as the Goulburn street carpark, Sydney. One quickly and cost-efficiently enhance their performance and aesthetics through this minimal intervention.

UTS Tower Day Before (Image Courtesy LAVA)

The re-skin concept continues LAVA’s research into sustainable public architecture by combining lightweight contemporary materials with the latest digital fabrication technologies with the aim of achieving more (architecture) with less (material/energy/time).

UTS Tower Night before (Image Courtesy LAVA)

Before View (Image Courtesy LAVA)

Site Plan


Aerial View

Related posts:

Contact Laboratory for Visionary Architecture/LAVA

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Category: Tower Skin

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