Ars Electronica Center // Linz, Austria
Ars Electronica Center // Linz, Austria

Ars Electronica Center // Linz, Austria
Ars Electronica Center // Linz, Austria

Ars Electronica Center // Linz, Austria
Ars Electronica Center // Linz, Austria

Blinkenlights  // Berlin
Blinkenlights // Berlin

Klubhaus // Hamburg
Klubhaus // Hamburg

Kunsthaus Graz // Graz, Austria
Kunsthaus Graz // Graz, Austria

Kunsthaus Graz // Graz, Austria
Kunsthaus Graz // Graz, Austria

Kunsthaus Graz // Graz, Austria
Kunsthaus Graz // Graz, Austria

Kunsthaus Graz // Graz, Austria
Kunsthaus Graz // Graz, Austria

Kunsthaus Graz // Graz, Austria
Kunsthaus Graz // Graz, Austria

O2 World Berlin // Berlin
O2 World Berlin // Berlin

O2 World Berlin // Berlin
O2 World Berlin // Berlin

O2 World Berlin // Berlin
O2 World Berlin // Berlin

Tower T // Paris
Tower T // Paris

Tower of Winds // Yokohama, Japan
Tower of Winds // Yokohama, Japan

Tower of Winds // Yokohama, Japan
Tower of Winds // Yokohama, Japan

Uniqua Tower // Wien, Austria
Uniqua Tower // Wien, Austria

The new virtuality in architecture

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DERECO Impuls 1

In architectural history, the term “façade” – derived from Latin “facies” (face) – denotes the representative outer shell of a building. Squares and streets are shaped and defined by buildings and their design, by construction materials and artistic décor. In combination, architectural monuments, houses and their façades have developed specific and individual cityscapes – unmistakeable, unique and lasting.

Rooted in a modern industrialised, urbanised world and driven by technological progress – particularly in the spheres of photo and film and in the digital media – and by the concurrent radical changes in our lives and its perception, media façades have become a major topic. According to media artist Professor Joachim Sauter, they are turning into a new format: “The façade is the medial skin of architecture.”


New landmarks:

Most major cities in today’s world have one thing in common: their faces keep changing continuously and perpetually, in boulevards and squares, especially at night when the light comes on and façades are illuminated. Gleaming pictures and letters merge into messages, digital pulses and screens create a new, fascinating world with an ever changing face. We receive numerous impressions and perceive things in parallel as they renew themselves incessantly. Buildings seem to disappear behind a sea of lights only to become real again the next morning. Medial cities change continually; they are virtualised. Consequently, they mirror modern, digital, global society.

The development and design of media façades is becoming a major interdisciplinary topic.
Designers, architects and artists alike are dealing with how to modify façades by means of new materials and lights or displays controlled by computers, thus creating fascinating unknown objects, space and buildings. This interaction of disciplines has spawned innovative design concepts and façades with changing visual manifestations and interactive features. Media façades attract attention and create a strong sense of identity. They have a lasting impact on urban space.


Design options for media façades:

Design options for media façades include lighting (projections, window animation and lamps), screens, advertising features such as displays or banners, or mobile façade elements.

The purposes of developing design concepts for building façades by using various media are quite diverse. They reach beyond visual appearance and chiefly strive to convey information and trigger emotion, while developing relationships and dialogue.

By using moving images and changing interfaces, you can give visual messages a stage to attract attention, to trigger responses and action.

The application scope is wide, ranging from neighbourhood development to motivating people in companies and shopping centres to art and culture projects or advertising.


Outlook:

For economic reasons, media façades have often been on display only temporarily and not as permanent installations. However, the relevance of the “new” medium and the desire to implement ambitious concepts have been growing rapidly. In architecture and design, media façades are almost worshipped as a new form of art. No wonder because sophisticated planning, perfect engineering and skilful design open up completely new possibilities for designing and communicating which can make a building a spectacular, internationally recognisable landmark.


Pioneering concepts:

The “Tower of Winds” created by Japanese architect Toyo Ito in 1986 in Yokohama is considered to be the first media façade with a meaning attached to it. A ventilation tower 21 metres in height belonging to an underground shopping mall was clad with an oval aluminium cylinder shell. Neon rings, cold light and flood light between this new outer jacket and the interior make the tower seem a built-up object in the daytime due to reflexion. As the sun sets, the lamps react, illuminating the tower.


Blinkenlights:

“Blinkenlights” is a project by Chaos Computer Club Berlin. It’s an interactive light installation realised on 11 September 2001 at “Haus des Lehrers” in Berlin. Commemorating the founder of Chaos Computer Club, Wau Holland, who died at an early age, artists decided to turn the famous building in Berlin’s Alexanderplatz into the largest interactive computer display in the world. All the windows in the building are fitted with lamps to form individual “pixels”. Controlled by a computer, they were able to visualise changing motifs and messages on command. People were able to join in with the communication using their mobiles and sending their own messages.

You can watch a film on the project here:
http://chaosradio.ccc.de/media/video/blinkenlights-video-hq.m4v


Arcade:

The Arcade was the second interactive Blinkenlights project with a light installation. As in Berlin, it was possible to set new standards in public space.

During the “Nuit Blanche Art Festival” in Paris, the “T” Tower of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France was transformed into a giant computer screen. The matrix stretched over 20 x 26 windows (520 directly addressable pixels), i.e. a surface area of 3,370 sqm – the largest computer screen in the world.

The installation began on 25 September 2002 and ran for eleven nights up to the official event on 5/6 October 2002. During this period, the tower presented itself in a continually changing picture of animations and interactive applications such as Tetris, the most popular computer game of all times, which you were able to play on your mobile telephone.

With specially developed technologies for Mac OS and Windows, everybody could design their own images and animations and submit them via e-mail. The projects became part of a playlist used to operate the façade during the entire performance.

With a novel technology it was possible to dim the light on the façade, which added a highly interesting new atmosphere to Paris by night.

Follow this link to watch the video documentary:
https://vimeo.com/14219561


Ars Electronica Center:

Ars Electronica Center in Linz (Austria), also known as the “Museum of the Future”, was opened in 1996. It is the architectural implementation of what Ars Electronica stands for, showing the world of digital interaction. The Center was redeveloped and extended by the City of Linz in cooperation with the company Treuscharchitecture ZT GmbH from 2007 to 2009. A glass façade with illuminated objects was added – at night, the museum turns into a light sculpture.

The Center hosts several exhibitions under one roof, the heart of its curated programme being the permanent collection called “New images of mankind”. In four laboratories, you can explore issues such as how the world we live in and mankind keep changing, what effect we have on the environment and what the world might look like in future.


O2 World:

Mercedes-Benz Arena (formerly known as O2 World Berlin) is one of the most modern multifunctional event halls. It was opened in Berlin in 2008. The Arena is home to the Berlin Eisbären hockey team and to Alba Berlin, the most successful German basketball team of the past twenty years. During the “Berlin leuchtet 2013” (Shining Berlin 2013) festival, artist Jakob Kupfer turned the building into one of the largest temporary art installations worldwide. For this purpose, a surface of 116 x 12 metres of the glass façade was illuminated with 300,000 LED clusters.


Kunsthaus Graz:

In 2003, a new landmark was built for the European Capital of Culture that year: Kunsthaus Graz in Austria. This biomorphic structure, planned by London architects Peter Cook and Colin Fournier, is a surprising, spectacular blend of tradition and avant-garde right in the city centre. The innovative 900-sqm BIX media façade opens up a wide range of new creative options.

The façade was designed and implemented by realities:united using rings of light. Each ring is like a pixel controlled by a computer. BIX is tailor-made to fit the shape of the building – at night, the building itself seems to produce characters, text and film sequences, thus developing a communicative bond between the medium, the building and public space. Numerous awards have been presented to realties:united for developing the BIX media wall.


Uniqua Tower:

Uniqua Tower, which has been in existence as an “energy-conscious new construction” since 2008 and was granted a GreenBuilding certificate by the EU, is a landmark by the Donaukanal in Vienna. Sequences can be played on the outline of the building as a dot matrix with an LED grid was installed at the gaps in the façade. The direction, scale and speed of the sequences vary, which creates an inspiring dynamic effect on a surface area covering more than 7,000 sqm.

The general concept of the project and the first sequences were developed by Licht Kunst Licht light planners (based in Bonn and Berlin) in cooperation with Holger Mader, Alexander Stublic and Heike Wiermann. The Barco company from Belgium was responsible for technical execution.


Klubhaus:

The new port of call for live music, entertainment and urban working is located right in the middle of the vibrant neighbourhood of St Pauli in Hamburg. Opening is scheduled for September 2015. This extraordinary building has a unique media façade designed by the Akyol Kamps – bbarchitekten firm from Hamburg. Artsy light and video installations can be played on it and it can also be used as advertising space.

The whole front is cladded with huge glass panes. LEDs were inserted into these panes in 8-mm gaps with a pixel spacing of 30 mm.