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Umbrella facade designed for Shanghai complex

By

April 25, 2013

The new screen will feature steel umbrellas that can be individually opened and closed and used to manage light levels within the complex (Image: 3Gatti)

The new screen will feature steel umbrellas that can be individually opened and closed and used to manage light levels within the complex (Image: 3Gatti)

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Architecture studio 3Gatti has taken inspiration from colorful parasols carried during Shanghai’s hot summer months to design a new facade for the 2010 Shanghai Expo’s Madrid Pavilion. The new screen for the re-purposed office and retail block will feature steel umbrellas that can be individually opened and closed and used to manage interior light levels.

The new umbrella facade will replace the bamboo louvers on folding steel frames that currently surround the building's glazed walls and 1.5-meter (5-ft) wide terrace. Unfortunately the bamboo and frames have degraded since the pavilion was converted to a retail and office complex following the 2010 Expo, during which it hosted a low-cost housing exhibition.

The design from the 3Gatti design team maintains the public interaction of the original facade, and allows people to adjust shades to provide the desired light levels. Each umbrella is controlled by a pulley system that operates a central spring loaded joint mechanism identical to a standard umbrella, though slightly too heavy to slip into your handbag, being made from steel.

When all umbrellas are open the facade becomes a flat surface protecting the interior from strong winds and blocking excess solar gain. The design details from 3Gatti also confirm that the star shaped sticks of the closed umbrellas are aerodynamic, deflecting wind in case of typhoons.

Each umbrella frame is made from aluminum while the surface uses the increasingly popular perforated Corten steel. Adjoining facade panels are also made from Corten steel, with the ground floor walls remaining glazed to allow increased light at this level.

The new facade is scheduled for a construction period in the Autumn of 2014.

Source: 3Gatti via Dezeen

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About the Author
Donna Taylor After years of working in software delivery, Donna seized the opportunity to head back to university and this time study a lifelong passion: Architecture. Originally from the U.K. and after living in many countries, Donna and her family are now settled in Western Australia. When not writing Donna can be found at the University of Western Australia's Architecture, Landscape and Visual Arts Department. All articles by Donna Taylor
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1 Comment

Very creative design. Thank-you for the article Donna Taylor. Please let us know how well this works out after it is built.

MBadgero
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