When I moved to from Rome to Shanghai I noticed many environmental differences. One was the fact that when I looked out the window here, it didn’t give me the same good feeling like it usually did in Rome. It was probably a combination of the grey buildings, the immortal grey sky and the fact you couldn’t open the window due to the outside air pollution. I began to feel happier at night because one couldn’t see outside. Being a meteoropathic I consider myself very sensitive to light issues, I found the only time a bad sky, like Shanghai’s, gave me a good feeling was when I was under a skylight, especially a frosted one. Maybe the reason for this is because you imagine the natural light that comes from the skylight comes from a nice sky not a grey one. This was exactly the effect I wanted to produce in this project, where each room in the Shanghai office experiences the same positive feelings I get from being under the light of a magical frosted skylight.
The project is a renovation of a common, old and unattractive building in the city center. It is currently situated in an area experiencing change where the surrounding buildings are developing, becoming more modern and captivating. Our strategy is to attract customers to rent the office spaces on the upper floors and commercial on the lower floors. Our concept was to create an icon-building, a kind of landmark very easy to recognize, a kind of sculpture with a strong character able to detach itself from the boring cityscape.
The design is very simple but contains complex environmental qualities: we placed inflatables in front of each room. Having many years of experience with inflatables I know how versatile and effective they can be; a very little pressure difference between the interior and exterior is enough to keep the specific cloth inflated (White Antibacterial Technical Outdoor Nylon with Polygene Silver Icons).
The building ventilation, air conditioning and filtering will be centralized and will easily keep the necessary interior pressure even when using traditional doors and openings.
The first function of the curved white and translucent surface is to amplify the sun light (thanks to the rounded shape) and concentrate it into the interior where the building depth is very long and working spaces are very distant from the window.
The air space in-between the inflatable and the glass window will act as efficient insulation to keep a desirable interior temperature and will be oxygenated due to the green barrier between the glass and the fabric. This micro greenhouse will constantly exchange air pressure with the office interior, supplying the best climate in summer and winter.
The light quality will always be optimal thanks to a sensor, giving a mixture of artificial and natural light. The white window domes will also keep the intensity of the light constant.
The bubble façade will not be a static façade, it will oscillate with the wind and will interact with its inhabitants: the inflatabels will be in full tensile capacity when many people are working and the ventilation is at its maximum. When no people are in the room the sensor will switch the ventilation down to its minimum and the facade will become almost deflated.
As the project site is located near a famous sculptural park, the building can perform as a large scale interactive sculpture itself. Its rounded shape will be emphasized at day. In the night, the façade material will be uniformly lit up becoming a form of urban lamp, creating it to be an urban icon itself.