The 2014 Media Architecture Biennale has drawn to a close in Aarhus, Denmark, and with it five projects have been awarded for "outstanding accomplishments in the intersection between architecture and technology." Representing five different categories (Animated Architecture, Spatial Media Art, Money Architecture, Participatory Architecture, and Trends & Prototypes), these five projects are the ones that most represent the Media Architecture Biennale's goal to advance the understanding and capabilities of media architecture.
The winners include a power plant with a shimmering chimney tower, an installation that creates "phantoms" with light, an interactive LED facade, a crowdsourced mapping system for transit in the developing world, and a kinetic "selfie facade." See videos of all five winners after the break.
Winner, Animated Architecture: Energy Tower Facade Lighting / Erick van Egeraat
Created with the help of Martin Professional and Gunver Hansen Tegnestue, Erick van Egeraat's new incinerator in Roskilde is a landmark of sorts, with the building's chimney stack being visible from much of the city. To counteract the potentially negative interpretation of this landmark, the double-skinned facade was turned into a symbolic light show, with brightly-lit perforations creating a fiery display that highlight the function of the tower in a poignant and captivating display.
"It’s the integration of the different layers of design, architecture, form of the building, façade and light design and finally the content that makes the power plant’s ‘Energy Tower’ almost a living thing," said Dr. Gernot Tscherteu, the founder of the Media Architecture Biennale. "It won the prize in the category animated architecture, and this project is truly and literally animated architecture."
Winner, Spatial Media Art: Light Barrier / Kimchi and Chips
Running from June 4th-6th at Nikola-Lenivets' New Media Night Festival, this installation by Kimchi and Chips creates floating graphic objects with a complex set of calibrated light beams. "They tell a story only using light. That’s very interesting," added Dr. Gernot Tscherteu.
Winner, Money Architecture: DIA Lighting/Urban Canvas / Martin Professional, Kollision + Transform
With a 4,000 square metre media facade surrounding their new headquarters in one of Copenhagen's busiest areas, the Confederation of Danish Industry (DI) has become a focal point for citizen interaction in the built environment. The facade, designed by Martin Professional, Kollision and Transform, contains over 80,000 LEDs and can be controlled by the DI - or it can be 'scribbled' onto in realtime by bystanders using a special app on their mobiles.
Winner, Participatory Architecture: DigitalMatatus
Aiming to shed light on the hundreds of informally-run small private buses ("Matatus") that make up Nairobi's most used transit system, this intercontinental collaborative team from the University of Nairobi, Columbia University and MIT used crowdsourced mobile phone data to create the first comprehensive map of the Matatu transit system. For the first time, residents in Nairobi had a way to clearly navigate the city, but perhaps just as importantly the new maps served as a tool for both government and the Matatu operators to improve on the existing service.
Winner, Trends & Prototypes: MegaFaces / Asif Kahn
This pavilion welcoming guests to the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics provided a novel interactive element, as photos taken inside the accompanying booth were relayed to the 11,000 actuators making up the primary facade, and the faces of participants reconstructed in 8 metre high 3D selfies. The result was a constantly changing digital "Mount Rushmore" that, throughout the course of the Olympic event displayed the faces of 150,000 people from 106 countries.
For more on all of the winners, as well as other shortlisted projects, visit the 2014 Media Architecture Biennale Website here.