Guto Requena’s ‘Hacked City’ project illuminates Brazil hotel with interactive light patterns

by Kate Parker | 31 Aug 2015

Brazilian architect and designer Guto Requena has completed a new interactive light facade around the Hotel WZ Jardins in São Paulo.

Award-winning architect Guto Requena, creative director of Estudio Guto Requena, recently completed the new facade for the Hotel WZ Jardins as a research project exploring the ‘Hacked City’. The concept explores how we can bring positive changes to cities, their public spaces and architecture by plugging in poetic and functional systems to encourage changes in real time that are impromptu, collaborative and affordable.

Requena is representative of a new generation of architects and designers involved in the discussion of interactivity and its effects on architecture and design. His work focuses on new digital technologies, cyber-culture, hybrid realities, new lifestyles, affective memory and Brazilian culture.

Originally built in the 1970s, the Hotel WZ Jardins has recently been retrofitted, with Requena designing the new facade as a work of urban art – a 30-storey intervention that is visible both day and night.

In the daytime, a coat of sheet metal creates a pixelated skin in blue, grey and gold. This urban camouflage was designed from the analysis of on-site ambient noise by using parametric software. The result is a visual reflection of the soundscape of São Paulo’s iconic Avendina Rebouças.

At dusk, the metal skin is lit with 200 strips of low energy LED lighting that give life to this ‘luminous creature’ and create an interactive dynamic with the city and its inhabitants. The ‘creature’ behaves on its own, reacting in real-time to environmental stimuli and people.

Sensors installed on the building collect sounds that affect the ‘creature’s’ form and movement. Other sensors measure air quality and change the colour accordingly. A mobile phone application allows anyone to directly interact with the luminous skin by voice or by finger taps.

Commenting on the design, Requena said: “The interactive facade of the Hotel WZ Jardins reveals a future where buildings become hybrids of the real and virtual.

“From here on, we not only create architecture with physical matter, but also where digital sensors and actuators integrate with brick, glass and concrete.”

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Brazilian architect and designer Guto Requena has completed a new interactive light facade around the Hotel WZ Jardins in São Paulo. Award-winning architect Guto Requena, creative director of Estudio Guto Requena, recently completed the new facade for the Hotel WZ Jardins as a research project exploring the ‘Hacked City’. The concept explores how we can bring positive changes to cities, their public spaces and architecture by plugging in poetic and
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At dusk, the metal skin is lit with 200 strips of low energy LED lighting that give life to this ‘luminous creature’
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