What is a Transparent Media Facade and how is it Shaping Architecture?

Apr 28, 2022
Transparent media facade
Transparent Media Facade

Transparent media façade systems transform buildings into digital walls. These facades that architecturally fuse light and media, allow architects to develop a balance between aesthetics, function and visual communication. In architectural vocabulary, it can be termed as interactive architecture. Bridging the gap between the digital world and urban space, this is considered as one of the best media façade that can help tell stories, grab public attention forging a new perception to digital architecture.

Individually addressable, controlled LED nodes connected and attached to the external surface of a building that form an architectural vision is called a media façade. The nodes are connected in such a way that they correspond to a display pixel. These façade have taken dynamic lighting to the next level of display of media. With the integrated circuit chips that are then packed into LEDs and  signals delivered by lighting control systems , thousands of pixels can be coordinated to create dynamic graphics and eye grabbing displays.

Elements that transform Facades into Media Masterpieces:

  1. LED nodes are the essence of any media façade solution that integrates power, communication and a controlled lighting system. To accommodate a variety of architectural surfaces, planes, and configurations modular components of media facades exist in various forms or structures.

The patterns in which arrangement of LEDs are as follows:

Media LED Meshes

Linear profiles of LED modules are integrated into stainless steel wire meshes. The durability and fundamentals of metal along with its pleasing visual appearance makes this an ideal, long-term implementation in media facades. Stainless steel along with being aesthetically attractive has various other properties. It is flammable, corrosion resistant, and high transparency which ranges from 40 to 90 percent. These stainless steel structures have high dimension stability and can absorb significant loads such as heavy winds without disturbing the integrity of the structure and appearance.

LED media facade
LED Media Facade

LED Pixel Dots

Pixels lights come in round, square and bullet type form and today are one of the most versatile media solutions in architecture facades. These can be used irrespective of how large, irregular or abstract a façade is. These are individually attainable pixel dots and can be used to create intricate media scenarios with customizable pixel pitches and maximum artistic flexibility. LED pixel dots provide visibility and a contrast ratio in any day or moon light situation. As per different optimal requirements  for e.g.:  viewing angles and visible profiles there are various options in the market in LED pixel dots viz. flat lens, TIR optical beam, or opal dome versions. These ensure direct-view pixel luminaires. On the façade these flexible strands on LED can directly be mounted. Evenly spaced pixels in grids are created by single nodes embedded on meshes and nets.

Transparent media facade
LED Pixel Dots

Media Tubes

A direct view or diffused Linear LED lighting solution for exterior accent and low-resolution graphic display applications is called Media Tubes. With an expansive surface façade the modular pixels are mounted. Installation depends on the design of the façade, frame of unitized curtain systems so that appearance is not compromised. Though their resolution has a limit, the media tube façade gives higher and more significant outputs and wide viewing angles. For large scale two-dimensional architectural surfaces with defined edges and cladding that can accommodate linear luminaires these media tubes prove to be an ideal choice

LED media Tube
LED Media Tube


2. Color Performance

Accurate color, brightness and color and image ratio is of utmost importance for a seamless viewing experience of a media façade. Calibration of color for each color channel so as to balance any color difference is important. Equally the quality of light emitted by different LEDs has to be accurate and the focus has to be clear. In addition to color accuracy, color consistency across the entire span of a media facade is another critical factor in designing a media facade system.

3. Outdoor Survival

While planning the media façade it is important to consider factors such as exposure to UV rays, ingress of water and dust, and resistance to corrosives. The system should be treated with ingress protection to achieve high watertight integrity. Small LED nodes use waterproof sealants which must have excellent chemical stability, bond strength, and weather resistance. Tubular luminaires may include a special vent that equalizes pressure differential between the enclosure air volume and the environment while blocking water and contaminants. UV stabilization in plastic lenses to prevent premature yellowing is necessary to avoid color shift.

4. Control Systems

Control systems come in place for scalable videos, streaming, proper flow and display of content to the media façade. The LED nodes can coordinate tens of thousands of individually controllable lighting nodes of a facade system to create a turn-key visualization solution. Computer-controlled display programming allows users to develop scenes, map video input onto a grid of nodes, simulate light shows, and schedule show playback. Because of DMX addressing limitations, data in a media facade system is typically communicated in Ethernet compatible packets.

Features necessary to install Transparent Media Facade:

• Flexible Design

• High Transparency

• Fast Locks

• Quick Installation

• Waterproof Connectors

Advantages of Transparent Media Façade

• Creative color possibilities for facade appear as the second skin of building

• Adds 3D effect to the building

• Lightweight & Slim and it does not cause any damage to the original wall

• Easy to install, and easy maintenance

• No heavy steel support structure but rather a frame for installing the LEDs

• Even if it looks like it should consume a huge amount of electricity, LEDs support low consumption

Summary:

Digital media facades make buildings tell stories and strike a perfect balance of aesthetic structures and illumination art. It is simply a modern way of redefining public art, advertisements, and other art forms. It helps give a 3D effect to the building and a unique character to the entire street where such a façade exists. For eg: Times square, New York.




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