• Client:
  • Undisclosed
  • Location:
  • Sydney, Australia
  • Partners:
  • Prof Irvine; Mak Max; Ross Harding
  • Status:
  • Design Concept 2009


Award winning ‘Tower Skin’ is a simple, cost effective and easily constructed building skin that the transforms identity, sustainability and interior comfort of tired icons, re-purposing inefficient buildings.

What initially began as a speculative proposal to re-shape the UTS tower in Sydney evolved into a broader architectural idea for re-purposing inefficient or outdated buildings as an alternative to demolishing and rebuilding (with its huge financial and environmental expense).

LAVA developed a simple, cost effective and easily constructed building skin that can potentially transform the identity, sustainability and interior comfort of any existing structure. The ‘skin’ is a translucent cocoon that can create its own’ microclimate’. It can generate its own energy with photovoltaic cells, could collect rainwater, improve the distribution of natural daylight and 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 acts as an intelligent media surface effectively integrating principles of architecture, fashion, media and communication design into a new hybrid typology.

The reskinning technology could be easily applied to other buildings around the world in need of a facelift, quickly and cost-efficiently enhancing their performance and aesthetics through minimal intervention. The 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).

The project won a 2010 ZEROprize Re-Skinning Award.     

WATCH VIDEO            


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Design: Toko / Development: Damien Aistrope