Thursday, February 11, 2010

New skin for aging 60s icons

LAVA Laboratory for Visionary Architecture

Re-skin / More with less

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to reshape the UTS tower on Broadway has evolved into a broader architectural idea for re-purposing inefficient or outdated buildings as an alternative to demolishing and rebuilding ( which comes with a huge financial and environmental expense) LAVA has developed a simple, cost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.

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.

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.

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.

“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.”

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.

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).

All images and Photographs by LAVA

Laboratory for Visionary Architecture Asia Pacific

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,

Model with the great support of:

Andrew Southwood-Jones, Catherine Zhuang, Christen Meli, Alexander Kashin

animation by LAVA feat. time-lapse by Peter Murphy

Sustainability concept: Ross Harding from Advanced Environmental.

Structural advice: Prof Max Irvine

Membrane advice: Daniel Cook, Mak Max


  1. By the way my name is Kim Nguyen Ngoc....

  2. Woah, amazing! It creates its own Micro Climate and use the received energy to run the whole building ventilation.