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.
C3A in Córdoba, Spain by realities:united
January 10th, 2017 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: realities:united
The original concept for the building by Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos proposed the integration of a low-resolution light and media façade on the building surface, facing Río Guadalquivir. realities:united was commissioned to further develop the conception and the design for this media skin in close cooperation with the architects.
The Façade was transformed into a light and media display without fundamentally changing its solid appearance as envisioned by Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos. It was designed to deliver a tactile and solid appearance in daytime while it turns into a unique and dynamic communication wall that reacts very specifically to the architecture at night.
Starting point for the media façade was an analysis of the significant inner structure of the building, which is made up of a tessellated (self-repeating) pattern of polygonal rooms. This inner motif is translated to form a characteristic outer topography on the façade, a system of irregularly shaped, hexagonal indentations of varying density, size and scale.
There are 1,319 of these pre-fabricated “bowls” scattered over the 100m long façade made of fiberglass-reinforced cement (GRC). Each of the bowls is serving as a reflector for an integrated artificial light source. By controlling the intensity of each lamp individually, the bowls turn the façade into the envisioned low-resolution grey scale display.
Three different scales of bowls are employed and distributed in huge patterns over the total façade, thereby subtly echoing the building’s architectural elements. Additionally, each bowl appears to be unique in shape and size; and their distribution appears to be irregular.
Only the distribution density stays consistent.
Analogously to the eye’s retina, this composition allows the definition of areas of varying density or “sensitivity” on the façade. This analogy offers a certain artistic freedom: the resolution of the displayed images can stay low, fitting the blown-up scale of the screen, creating a mode of display in which the motifs are hinted at, rather than unambiguously presented.
During the day, the façade shows a three-dimensional landscape with no sign of being a media facade. Additionally, this tectonically modulated surface topography is characterized by a playful composition of light and shadow that constantly changes with the movement of the sun.
The thorough immersion of the “pixel-bowls” – like negative impressions – in the volume of the façade turns the architectural scheme itself into a digital information carrier.
The interest in the aspect of “visual acuity” stems from earlier projects and extensive research on the process of visual perception (cf. projects BIX, SPOTS). For visualizations with very low resolution, the precognition of the brain determines whether an image or animation can be recognized. A motif that has been displayed at a higher resolution can be shifted to much lower resolution and still preserve its readability (cf. projects AAMP, SPOTS).