Sustainable and Digital Media Technology Used to Create New Curtainwall Façade in China

greenpixstoryThe GreenPix Zero Energy Media Wall, located in Beijing and designed by Simone Giostra & Partners Architects, applies sustainable and digital media technology to the curtainwall of Xicui Entertainment Complex near the site of the 2008 Olympics. Earlier this year the Boston Society of Architects’ sustainable design awards jury recognized the project with a “Citation for innovative use of solar technology.”The project is a large-scale display made of 2,292 color LED light points comparable to a 24,000 square foot monitor screen for dynamic content display. Xicui’s opaque box-like commercial building has the ability to “communicate” with the surrounding environment through its “intelligent skin” that interacts with the building interiors and the outer public spaces using embedded, custom-designed software.

In addition to being one of the largest color LED displays in the world, it is the first photovoltaic system integrated into a glass curtainwall in China, transforming the building envelop into a self-sufficient organic system, harvesting solar energy by day and using it to illuminate the screen at night, mirroring a day’s climatic cycle. Arup provided lighting design and façade engineering for the project.

Supported by German manufacturers Schuco and SunWays, Giostra and Arup developed a new technology for laminating photovoltaic cells in a glass curtainwall and oversaw the production of the first glass solar panels by Chinese manufacturer SunTech. The polycrystalline photovoltaic cells are laminated within the glass of the curtainwall and placed with changing density on the entire building’s skin. The density pattern increases the building’s performance, allowing natural light when required by the interior program, while reducing heat gain and transforming excessive solar radiation into energy for the media wall.