Media-Facades book - LAb[au]

About the book

Overview about the varied media facades that exist, their technology and future development. The book introduces a canon of media architectural terminology and shows the history of media facades through early examples of embedding media in architecture, like Times Square, New York, and Centre Pompidou, Paris. State of the art developments are presented with approx. 30 international projects of contemporary media architecture separated and classified in 7 different technical categories: projection facades, rear projection facades, window raster animation, display facades, illuminated facades, mechanical facades and voxel facades. Each of these 7 categories gets introduced via explaining the technology and through the means of built examples. In each example project data are presented with a brief description about the project and the used technology. An analysis of the representational characteristics of media facades lead to an introduction of possible forms of media content and completes the book.

M. Hank Haeusler, Dr. Ing., studied architecture in Japan, the Netherlands, Germany and finished his PhD at the RMIT School of Architecture in Melbourne, Australia, in 2007. His media consulting office City Lights Architecture Store/CLAStore combines his research interests with application in praxis.

About the author

M. Hank Haeusler completed his studies in Architecture in 2003 at The University of Applied Science in Stuttgart; where he received a Postgraduate Diploma in Architecture in October 2003.
He has also studied at Tokyo Institute of Technology in Tokyo, Japan and at the Technical University in Delft, The Netherlands, primarily focusing on architectural theory.


Haeusler has worked in architectural practices in Germany, the United States and Australia, including Kauffmann Theillig & Partner, Transsolar Engineering and Murphy Jahn Architects. He finished his PhD at SIAL under the supervision of Professor Mark Burry in October 2007. His research focused on the design of a Spatial Dynamic Media System for an interactive spatial communication through a 3D light grid to design content driven dynamic surface in real-time.

Text about LAb[au]

Location: Brussels, Belgium
Year of completion: 2006
Name of building designer: Philippe Smyn & Partners, M & J.M.Jaspers - J.Eyers & Partners

Name of media facade designer: Barbara Heidiger
Designer of media content: LAb[au], Laboratory for Architecture and Urbanism
Developer, production and Construction of media facade: spacecannon VH

By including RGB LED bars to the Brussels 'Dexia Tower', a classic high rise building facade is able to transform into a giant media facade. The RGB LEDs were located at the 4200 windows on all 39 floors of the building. All the LEDs were grouped per window, allowing greater control over isolating or merging colours on each floor, because the designers perceived the media facade not merely as a flat screen, but used the architectural characteristics of the building as parameters to setup spatial, temporal and luminous concepts realized through different contents.

Based on this concept, it was possible to realise media content projects tailor made for the building. To give an idea of the how the appearance of a media facade can be changed by altering the content, two of the many media content projects realized have been presented here: --->


'who's_afraid_of_RGB' (2007) and 'Touch' (2006). The content 'who's_afraid_of_RGB' was based on the idea of the cybernetic tower using the three primary colours of light: red, blue and green. The first artwork series established a graphical time construct and the second series forcast the next day's weather for Brussels. The other concept, 'Touch', allowed the public to interact directly with the media Facade via an interface installed at the bottom of the tower. Using a touch panel, participants were able to alter the colour of the tower and mix elementary graphical elements such as points, lines and surface combined with physical behaviours such as growth or weight.

The media facade has transformed the Dexia tower into an interactive landmark. The tower can now present digital art to the city via a number of tailor made contents, in some cases public participation.

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