Sydney's 'ugliest building' to get solar skin

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Sydney's University of Technology knows its Sydney Tower is pretty hideous - it even says so on the website. So in traditional fashion, it's decided to put a paper bag over its head.

The university has recruited design company Lava to make the building a little less of an eyesore, and is now considering plans to cover the 1960s Brutalist building in a solar skin as part of a major environmental sustainability plan.

The plan "offers a unique opportunity to transform the identity, sustainability and interior comfort of the once state of the art building," says Lava director Chris Bosse.

The lightweight composite mesh textile would be easy to stretch around the building, says Lava. It could collect rainwater and generate electricity through photovoltaic cells and use convective energy to power the building's ventilation systems.

At night, the skin could be used as a giant billboard to display university performances and campus events in real time.

It's a speculative project, and the final version is likely to be a little less dramatic than the pictures. In the meantime, it's been busy installing a more efficient boiler heat recovery system. Not quite as dramatic.

The university is also carrying out feasibility studies of a hydro turbine and ducted wind turbine.