Video: LAVA designs new skin for old Sydney icons

February 4, 2010

LAVA propose a mesh textile ‘skin’ to transform Sydney’s tired 1960s landmarks into sustainable buildings.

Chris Bosse’s firm LAVA has developed a simple, cost-effective, easily constructed skin for the UTS Tower, Goulburn Street Car Park and other 1960s buildings in Sydney as part of a speculative ‘re-skinning’ project.

The transparent cocoon acts as a high performance micro-climate. Called Tower Skin, the lightweight mesh textile fabric stretches around walls and generates energy with PV cells, collects rainwater, and uses available convective energy to power the towers’ ventilation requirements.


At night, the sculptural skin comes to life, with a media surface that communicates performance and campus events in real time.

The practice explains that the skin provides a means of retrofitting older buildings – rather than replacing them. “A re-skinned UTS Tower could be an example of sustainability, innovation, cutting edge design and creative education, without demolishing and rebuilding the 1960s icon,” Bosse said.

The skin “can cheaply enhance [a building's] performance and aesthetics through this minimal intervention,” he added.

*Images* courtesy LAVA. The plans are currently included in the STATE.RESPOND. Exploring Sustainable Design exhibition at Object Gallery, Sydney, from 6 Feburary until 28 March 2010.

  • John De Luca February 17th, 2010 5:14 am

    How is the issue of view out of the building addressed? It seems to cloak the tower in a scrim that would provide an obscured vision and that is an unreasonable way to treat the occupants. One also has to question the urban message of a scheme based on the notion of camouflage.

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