Monday, November 2, 2009

Sky Totem

[Image: From Living Light by The Living].

Soo-in Yang and David Benjamin of New York's The Living have completed an interesting—and extremely beautiful—public project in Seoul, Korea. Called Living Light, it's a permanent pavilion and glass canopy that registers and communicates air quality in the city.

"Our project aims to combine real-time data about the environment with dynamic lighting to create an interactive facade of the future," the architects write.

[Image: From Living Light by The Living].

The project combines Seoul's already-existing network of real-time air quality sensors with the city's growing number of large-scale media facades and media screens. Formally, the canopy is actually an abstracted map of Seoul's many neighborhoods—each panel corresponds to a district of the city—but it is a cartography that The Living have subtly tweaked.

[Image: From Living Light by The Living].

They first zeroed in on "the 27 existing air monitoring stations of the Korean Ministry of Environment," after which they delineated what we might call new air borders around those stations; this aerial geography of pollutants, wind, and natural atmospheric events, abstracted into something that looks remarkably like a Voronoi diagram, is then materially fabricated as this canopy. "Each night, the neighborhoods light up if their air quality is better today than last year," they explain. "Every 15 minutes, the map goes dark and then the neighborhoods light up in order of best current air quality to worst."

In other words, you always know exactly what part of the city you're looking at, because the panels are an abstract map of Seoul.

[Image: Prototype geometries from Living Light by The Living].

For electrical testing, further prototype studies, and images of the assembly process, it's worth clicking through the long series of images and videos over on the dedicated project website.

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