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My thoughts on the skin seem to keep switching, I’m sure it works, then I’m sure it doesn’t. Successful? On what criteria do I judge this? There seems to be a conflict in my mind!

Sketching skin details: I’m trying to get to grips with its various parts, the odd looking snow breakers, the sprinklers added due to the fire performance of acrylic panels and the quite pronounced gaps between panels.

Snow breakers

There are some quite obvious failures. The large gaps in panels have meant dirt on the underside of the skin has collected. For a 11 year old building that doesn’t look great. Additionally on a personal level, it seems strange to me that I can’t touch the outer skin, something I had just assumed you would be able to do before I visited. The closest you can get is in the cafe – for such an organic building, that just doesn’t work for me.

“Fluids, fiber optics cables and other infrastructure elements are channelled through the skin by means of laminated bladders…The performance specifications of the skin vary continuously along its surface, from the properties of rigid, opaque surface to those of a flexible, transparent membrane.”


This extract (one of several) from the competition entry Spacelab made really stands out. It seemed in the entry to be a major part of the scheme, yet what was built is far from it. I’m fully aware things change between competition and an actual building but this is an intriguing and sizable contrast.

So I’m deciding to explore this apparent contrast further. I’m starting to think about an installation that could address the original competition entry. I have limited time, resources and I’d be working out of my hostel room. It has to be portable and small.

Sketching it out I’m looking at the ideas of seamless panels, embedded cables, thin composition, embedded screens and a human tactile element. Maybe something built around my body?