Everyone talks about creating smart homes for a future when all our cities will be smart. But what does smart architecture really mean?
Working with its client FC Ingenieure and tech company Merck, architecture firm 3deluxe has successfully combined innovation, sustainability, and efficiency in a new smart façade by using a technology normally reserved for iPhone screens.
When we talk about smart homes, we’re usually referring to a house in which, through the application of home automation and the internet of things, all the technology is interconnected to streamline climate control, lighting, security, and energy use. The 3deluxe project goes one step further by integrating technology into elements where it’s not usually found.
By maximizing the ratio between the external surface and total volume, the cube shapes used in the FC–Campus complex are highly efficient in terms of sustainability. The project comprises two such cubes, which face in opposite directions and are punctuated by a series of organically shaped windows. These large windows ensure that the modern open-plan office spaces within are well lit from all sides and there’s a pleasant view from every workstation.
The structure of the building encourages a cooperative, non-hierarchical approach to work. Shared spaces alternate with areas for private work, with both furnished using elements that reflect the complex’s urban setting. Using an app designed by the developers, staff can control almost everything inside the building, right down to ordering food from the company canteen.
The architects set themselves the goal of responding both to users’ needs and external factors. The result is the innovative, hi-tech FC-Campus project.
What makes the glazing of the FC-Campus complex smart is a very thin foil that’s integrated into the structure of the glass itself – a technology also used in iPhones. This is a global first in façade design. Using sensor control, interactive liquid crystals integrated into the foil regulate the amount of light and heat entering the building, without reducing the transparency of the glass itself. This means that the building requires very little cooling, even in mid-summer, despite the fact it has large windows and no sunshading structures.
Smart glass is not only durable and efficient, but also an innovative contribution to the design of people-friendly architecture. It’s just one of the many technological innovations that will go into planning the smart cities of the not-too-distant future.
Location: Karlsruhe, Germany
Photography courtesy of 3deluxe