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Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL

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Windbreak – Adam Richards Architects

  • On October 13, 2006

Adam Richards Architects have designed a wind breaker with a difference. Created for a priest to shelter him whilst writing sermons on his roof terrace in central London, this project is conceived as an electronic Annunciation. An undulating screen of woven stainless steel mesh veils a continuous wall of blue polycarbonate panels held in a steel frame which is cantilevered from the building’s roof structure. In the morning the stainless steel blazes with reflected sunlight, whilst in the afternoon natural light causes the polycarbonate to glow blue through the mesh.

At night the polycarbonate is illuminated by hundreds of light emitting diodes integrated into the frame. These are linked to a Geiger Counter, which has been tuned to detect cosmic radiation, the fluctuations of which are registered as pulsing waves of blue light moving across the wall like the aurora borealis.

Sensors detect the movement of people near the screen, translating it into an electronic shadow in the LEDs. In this way the human and cosmic realms are brought to visibility within the same frame, which in turn embraces the space of the terrace whilst revealing the distant skyline of the city.


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