Zumtobel Future Cube - Building with an eye on the future
Future Cube is a Behnisch Architekten project with the participation of Zumtobel Lighting, Trans-solar Energietechnik, Sunways and Bartenbach Lichtlabor. The aim is to design new development scenarios for sustainable building in which lighting, electric energy and climate conditioning function together in synergy. The new design concept stems from prolonged professional experience in the field of sustainability and some long-pondered observations on how architectural space and the use of space are changing. The central point here is to exploit the façade for multiple purposes, while simplifying the utility installations in other parts of the building.
The way the Future Cube design team see it, the façade is destined to increase in the number and complexity of its roles: the ideal system will combine not only solar panels and sunscreens, mechanisms to optimize light diffusion and aeration, but also devices for artificial lighting, thermal inverters and mechanical ventilation. This principle twins with a new concept of lighting designed to save energy and space and produce greater comfort indoors. In this ‘model’ building-system, the top section of the glass façade has louvers directing the noonday sunlight onto the ceiling which in turn reflects back inside. LED luminaires directly powered by façade-mounted photovoltaic modules fitted onto some inner part of the premises supplements this source of diffuse light, ideally adjusting to the intensity of the daylight so as to keep the indoor-outdoor ratio constant. Artificial night-time lighting should again come from the façade, aiming to keep similar light conditions by day and by night: the artificial source slowly mingles with the natural as dusk falls. To achieve this, minute LEDs can be mounted on the light-filtering louvers; conceivably, lighting elements might be so reduced in size as to fit directly into the window panes themselves.
Grouping as many functions as possible on the façade will free other parts of the building from technical installations; this does away with false ceilings and double floors for conduits, and makes for a roomy interior with extreme flexibility of layout. Since it works by a photovoltaic source, the conditioning plant can be powered as current is generated and any excess will be put into the grid. Such a façade is designed to become a closed-circuit system, which saves on building volumes as well as energy costs.
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