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Digital Cloud Plan For City Skies


The inflatable elements of the building would sit on top of thin, lightweight towers

BBC News

A giant "digital cloud" that would "float" above London's skyline has been outlined by an international team of architects, artists and engineers.

The construction would include 120m- (400ft-) tall mesh towers and a series of interconnected plastic bubbles that can be used to display images and data.

The Cloud, as it is known, would also be used an observation deck and park.
The unconventional structure was originally envisaged as a centre piece of the city's Olympic village.

Its designers plan to raise the funds to build it by asking for micro-donations from millions of people.

"It's really about people coming together to raise the Cloud," Carlo Ratti, one of the architects behind the design from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) told BBC News. 

"We can build our Cloud with £5m or £50m. The flexibility of the structural system will allow us to tune the size of the Cloud to the level of funding that is reached."

The size of the structure will evolve depending on the number of contributions, he said.
Paola Antonelli, senior curator of architecture and design at the Museum of Modern Art in New York who has seen the design described it as a "sculptural spectacle" and "a celebration of technology".

'Data streams'
The Cloud was shortlisted in a competition set up by London Mayor Boris Johnson.
The mayor has committed to build a tourist attraction in the Olympic Park "with a legacy for the east end [of London]".

Other finalists are thought to include the former Turner prize winner Anish Kapoor and Antony Gormley, the designer of the Angel of the North.

The mayor is still in the "process of deciding" which design will be commissioned, according to a spokesperson.

However, the team, which also includes the writer Umberto Eco and engineers from Arup, has decided to push ahead and publish details of its design.

The structure draws on work by artist Tomas Saraceno, a German-based designer who has previously shown off huge inflatable sculptures.

It is envisaged that the spheres would be made of a plastic known as Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE), the material used to build the Beijing Aquatic Centre.
The different spheres would act as structural elements, habitable spaces, decoration and LCD screens on which data could be projected.

'It will be a monument to crowd-sourcing,' said Professor Ratti.

From BBC News
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