Feb 162011
 

 

There’s no doubt fashion is fleeting.

What might be the height of fashion today is almost certainly the fashion faux pas of tomorrow. Thankfully, clothes and hairstyles are easy to change and we’re not getting around in leg warmers and new romantic bouffants anymore – well most of us aren’t. Unfortunately, it’s not so easy to change the look of a building. What was the pinnacle of architectural design in the ’60s is often the eyesore of the skyline today. The Laboratory for Visionary Architecture (LAVA) proposes a simple, cost effective, easily constructed skin that promises to transform dated structures into sustainable and stunning buildings.

The “Tower Skin” concept is a transparent cocoon made of high performance composite mesh textile that is wrapped around an existing structure to act as a high-performance “micro climate”. Surface tension allows the membrane to freely stretch around walls and roof elements achieving maximum visual impact with minimal material effort. The skin is also easily repairable, is removable and upgradable and features a self-cleaning coating.

It generates energy with photovoltaic cells, collects rainwater, improves day lighting and uses available convective energy to power the towers’ ventilation requirements. Natural convection draws conditioned air through existing rooms and vents it to the exterior to generate energy. The skin is also an intelligent media surface that can be used for dynamic animation and communicating information such as performances and campus events in real time.

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