Toronto university building to have digitally-readable façade
An interactive façade is to be wrapped around the south-east corner of a building at the Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCAD) in Toronto. Its design is based on mapping data from the local area. Passers-by will be able to read information embedded in the façade by photographing it.
The building is question is currently the university’s main office building. It is due to be converted, however, into a multi-use work and exhibition space for students and will be known as the Rosalie Sharp Pavilion.
Designed by Bortolotto architects, the façade is aimed in part at engaging the local community. In order to create it, the city's educational art facilities have been mapped. These included galleries, museums, studios and art stores. The geographical data has been re-oriented so that it will fit on the façade, and paths drawn between the various institutions to indicate connections between them.
Spreading from the paths are what Bortolotto describes as "amorphic grids," which it says suggest the reconstruction of the city through the production of art and design. This creates an intricate pattern.
The façade will be made out of aluminum panels and is mounted on a metal subframe held in place by structural steel outriggers. The pattern will be applied to it via water-jet cutting and will give it the appearance of a perforated scrim. As the pattern is not repeated at any point, it will be possible to embed information in different parts of the design for reading.
An accompanying mobile app that is currently being developed in collaboration with OCAD's Digital Media Research Lab will be able to recognize various patterns within the design. Due to the early stage of development, information about the app is limited, but bystanders will be able to photograph a section of the façade and have associated digital information displayed to them.
Construction is expected to begin later this year.