Alex Haw – LightHive: Luminous Architectural Surveillance

Lecture date: 2007-05-03

LightHive is a gigantic lighthouse signalling the activity of the School through its piano nobile windows to the world beyond. The geometry of the AA is compressed as a 1:6 model to fit into the exhibition space, the building represented purely by the light sources that enable it to function. Each of the 160 cellular zones of the building is laced with a range of sensors, from door contacts to seat sensors, infra-red detectors to IP cameras, which are then wired back across the network to the luminous sky of the exhibition space. Activity triggers a signal to a central processing unit, activating one or more of the 1027 bespoke LED, spilling light into the room. The space thus operates like a 3D X-ray of the buildings activity, a kind of constantly updating surround-light CCTV, a spatial model of the entire Schools performance fluctuating over the course of hours, days and weeks. The lights pass through the boundaries of the windows, shifting the exhibitions location from inside to out, democratising the privacy of a gallery.

Alex Haw is tutor of Diploma Unit 13 and runs Atmos, an experimental collaborative practice. Previously he has worked for practices including Diller & Scofidio and Richard Rogers Partnership.


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