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Taichung Center's Pleated Skin Provides Solar Power

Credits: ©2009 MAD Architects

Beijing-based MAD Architects designed a convention center for Taichung, Taiwan. The project will consist of a series of mountain-like buildings with pleated exterior surfaces, allowing natural ventilation and accommodating photovoltaic panels. The architects wanted to seamlessly integrate the topology of the landscape and the architecture. The design is conceived as a continuous weave of architecture and landscape that blurs the boundary between architecture, public space and urban landscape, proposing a futuristic vision based on the East’s naturalistic philosophy.


Taichung Convention Center Night Crowd Rendering (Taiwan)

Rendering of crowds at night at the Taichung Convention Center, Taiwan. ©2009 MAD Architects

This project inherits Chinese architecture's long-standing attitude towards holistic integration and order of space. It employs the Eastern philosophy of a harmonized synthesis between human and nature. In the face of the project's enormous scale, the architecture no longer exists as a series of individual blocks, but instead is unified as a collective form. The resultant space enclosed within comes into focus, in a natural order emerging from air, wind and light, fostering a resonance between human and nature. The surface of the 'mountains' is a high-tech, eco-friendly pleated skin system. The smocking-like envelope provides air flow to the building while keeping energy consumption at a minimum by utilizing solar energy. The open courtyards that connect the individual 'mountains' are integrated into a natural sequence of outdoor spaces.

The Taiwanese center’s ‘blinds’ will naturally ventilate the structure, generating energy from solar power. The folded solar eco-skin of the building serves two purposes – first, the envelopes provide natural air flow to the interior to minimize air conditioning. Second, the pleatings also utilize a “double photovoltaic glass,” which will help reduce energy consumption. One side of the pleat is a transparent material that lets light into the interior, providing plentiful natural daylight, while the other side of the pleat is solid.

Built according to existing site topography, the structure of the center further accentuates what was already there. The mountainous forms resemble craters and are anywhere from 39-85 meters in height. Outdoor courtyards and balconies dot the architectural form to create a more organic landscape. In total, the building area is over 216,000 square meters (+ 2.3 million sq ft) and will have various uses including entertainment, retail, convention space, offices and parking. The inside of the convention center is filled with light and will hopefully be all it claims to be in terms of sustainability.