The green building boom shows no signs of slowing. New buildings still command all the headlines--even though the most eco-friendly move of all is to simply use what you have, as long as you can . Finally, it looks like architects are catching on, if these two new projects are any indication.
Above is a concept designed by LAVA for reskinning a building in downtown Sydney, originally built in the 1960s. It idea was to rewrap the building in a stretchy, mesh textile, which could create a microclimate, cooling the building inside. It would also become a high-performance scaffolding loaded with solar panels, rainwater collection systems, and a media facade:
The architects argue that reskinning technology could be quickly and cheaply applied to any building in need of a facelift--ranging from the Barbican Centre in London to the abandoned industrial buildings littering Hong Kong.
The dirty secret among architects is that, just like Apple or Nike, a big driver of their businesses is consumption--ever changing ideas of what's cool or unique. But minimal interventions could reintroduce novelty to an old building--and be cheap enough that they could be refreshed as needed.
One lovely example is this installation  by Ball Nogues , which is now slated for installation on the facade of an old parking lot designed by Frank Gehry. Inspired by Newton Balls--those desktop toys made of clacking metal balls--the structure is made of 450 stainless balls, strung to a single point on the roof. They're held in place simply by gravity:
They probably petty be triple sure that they've got some mighty anchors on the rooftop--or at least a security guard keeping people from loitering like the person in the rendering.
Building refreshes can be pretty great--as proven by Allied Work's redesign of 2 Columbus Circle . It's only a matter of time until they also become ultra-green.