Currently being realised in Singapore, Crystal Mesh is a new media facade which is the result of a collaboration between WOHA architects, Singapore and media architecture specialists realities:united, Berlin.
“Crystal Mesh consists of a tessellated pattern made of 3,000 modules of deep-drawn polycarbonate covering a façade area of more than 5,000 m2. About 1,900 of these modules contain a regular matrix of compact fluorescent light tubes forming “active patches” within the façade. At night the light matrix superimposes the idiosyncratic physical structure of the white, crystalline daytime façade. But the irregular arrangement of these patches – dividing the façade into areas with different resolutions – does not create a large, homogeneous screen in front of the building, but instead forms a more general impression of the building’s “medianess” as an addition to and an essential ingredient of its architecture.”
realities:united are probably best known for the BIX facade the created for Kunsthaus Graz (Austria) in 2003, and since then have built up a great body of work exploring an expanding world of ornamental media architecture. Whilst I still have a soft spot for the BIX project, one of the things that I really like about Crystal Mesh is the way that realities:united have created a sculptural facade where each pixel is in fact not one pixel at all, but an animatable cluster of them. The result is a kind of sub-resolution, where each crystal in the mesh can act as one object, or it’s subpixels can be individually controlled to create a really unique movement of light across the surface of the facade.
In the crystal mesh project realities:united once again shy away from jumping on the LED bandwagon like (most of) the rest of the world, and stick with good old fluorescent lamps. The facade covers a total area of 5180m2 of which 2550m2 are equipped as a media installation. The installation is made up of 6069 individually controllable 36W fluorescent bulbs. Whilst that’s a hefty 234kW power consumption (theoretical maximum with all lamps on), in normal operation the actual brightness for grey scale images is limited by software to approx. 70% brightness resulting in a max. power consumption of 127kW. The estimated power consumption in typical operation mode is approx. 85kW equaling 0.03kW/m2 (29 Watts/m2).
The full opening of the completed façade installation and the start of the projected artistic program on Crystal Mesh is scheduled for 12/2009.
Jack Investment Pte. Ltd. (Singapore)
WOHA Architects, Singapore
Crystal Mesh (Media) Façade Design:
realities:united, studio for art and architecture (Berlin) in collaboration with WOHA Architects, Singapore
Current (starting 15.8.2009) Video Art Piece
Media Façade Software Development:
Realization / Technology
Million Lighting Co Pte Ltd (Singapore) with:
Kurihara Kogyo Co., LTD. (Singapore Branch)
Fritz Borsi Gmbh & Co. KG (Germany)
SE Lightmanagement AG (Switzerland)
Crystal Mesh project page
10 comments September 5th, 2009