LED facades in architecture

Posted: September 4, 2007 in creativity


Electrabel’s Power Station in Drogenbos, Belgium

In principle I think it’s a great aspect of modern architecture: the integration of LEDs into building design. By conceptually and practically merging electronic media and architecture, it changes the perception of building facades from fixed & rigid to fluid, adds a dynamic component to the static appearance of buildings, overcomes their visual inaccessibility at night, changes the nature of urban and neighbourhood design, and even allows for interactivity between the building and its external environment. Image can be seen as always having been an important element of highly expressive architecture; LED displays though add a totally new quality: the change of the building’s ontology through the potentially constant possibility of image manipulation.


Electrabel’s Power Station in Drogenbos, Belgium

Like with any good thing of course, there are concerns over large scale architectural LEDs. They range from the simple effects of bad design on urban surroundings to unsustainable energy consumption to the imposition on and colonisation of public space. Such unease becomes even more relevant when one considers other changes, such as those in building technologies, which make it easier than ever to move away from the traditional limitations of surface or structure. With the emergence of intelligent construction materials, in a society in which everything is convertible into money, it is obvious that advertising is one prime candidate who will greedily embrace the new content function of the facade and continue its colonising march through public and urban space when marketing unsustainable products in even more unsustainable ways. Other possible users could be well-known misinformation providers, such as the press or governments. There’s a time bomb ticking it those current expressions of new media/architecture conversion.


Aspire Tower, Qatar


National Library of Belarus, Minsk


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