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The proposal from the Laboratory for Visionary Architecture (LAVA) to re-skin the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) tower in Sudney Australia has won the ZEROprize for Re-Skinning. The proposal aims to transform the identity of the brutalist-style high-rise and reduce its carbon footprint. LAVA has developed a simple, cost-effective and easily constructed building skin that forms a translucent cocoon to create a micro-climate. The skin can generate energy with embedded photo-voltaic cells, collect rain water, and improve the distribution of natural daylight. It can also use available convective energy to power the building’s ventilation requirements, reducing HVAC dependency. The skin is self cleaning and quite striking to the eye. The skin could be applied to other similar existing structures inexpensively, contributing to a low-cost, efficient way to beautify cities everywhere.

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The older high rises that dominate many established cities have numerous issues ranging from aesthetics to functionality, circulation, light penetration and air quality. By re-skinning the structure, as opposed to refurbishing the building or replacing the building, UTS is able to effectively resolve many of the existing issues with the structure, while creating a new image for the building and UTS and embracing the cutting edge of sustainable technology.

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Zerofootprint offers the ZEROprize™ to the design team who can take an older concrete high-rise structure and, using re-skinning along with other retrofitting technologies, reduce its carbon, water, and energy footprint to net zero while also maintaining the highest architectural design standards. To secure the ZEROprize,™ a candidate building is required to have a net zero footprint for one year

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The “Re-Skinning Awards” showcase the most successful, holistic retrofitting projects of the year. These are projects that update older buildings to bring their carbon, energy, and water performance to sustainable levels, improve their aesthetics, and make them “smarter”.

LAVA is a Sydney based architecture firm at the vanguard of nonconformist architecture.

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