After moving from his native Rome to Shanghai, China, architect Francesco Gatti noticed a distinct difference in the beauty of sky. The dull, gray, ultra-polluted sky of Shanghai left him hoping the sun would go down earlier, so he wouldn’t have to look at it anymore. When Gatti later realized how much better he felt when the room he was in had a frosted skylight, which accentuates the brightness of the sunlight, he decided to design a whole building around that concept.
Gatti, along with his architecture firm, 3GATTI, will renovate an old multi-story building in downtown Shanghai with an inflatable antibacterial nylon exterior, giving it a look reminiscent of the Michelin Man. The nylon covering will serve two purposes: to amplify the sunlight that enter each room and to create the best possible climate inside the building, whether it’s summer or winter.
Thanks to the curved design of the nylon bubble, sun light will be concentrated in areas farther away from the window. The sunlight will also be supplemented with artificial light in order to keep the light levels constant throughout the day.
“The air space in-between the inflatable and the glass window will act as efficient insulation to keep a desirable interior temperature and will be oxygenated due to the green barrier between the glass and the fabric,” Gatti said.
The nylon will be able to inflate with minimal pressure increase and will oscillate as the wind blows. With the help of sensors, the bubble will actually deflate when no one is in a room. Each room will have an inflatable installed, allowing each room’s nylon to expand independently. At night, the bubble can be lit up, making it act as building sized sculpture.
The building will be rented for offices on the higher floors and to commercial businesses on the lower floors. One things for certain, there won’t be any other buildings that look anything like this one, once it’s complete.
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