The video posted below is, first of all, a highly entertaining spectacle. Posted to Youtube by a French-Swiss artist who goes by the name NOTsoNOISY Guillaume Reymond, it shows students in each of the building's windows working together to create incredible displays, simply by opening or closing the building's windows and shades.
Youtube video by NOTsoNOISY Guillaume Reymond
The stop-motion video production puts their actions into a truly incredible display. And like I said earlier, it's mostly just fun to watch. And if all you're looking for is a quick break from your work, please go ahead and click on the video embed above.
However, as someone who writes about building construction and design, the video did generate a few questions for me. I think these questions came from my perception of the building, as shown in the video at least, as being a living thing, a structure exuding humanity. (Of course, that effect is helped by a bunch of people yelling out all of the structure's windows!)
So maybe I'm being a little nutty. But here are my questions:
First, why don't more buildings today employ operable windows? After all, Clemson University has incorporated operable windows in its brand-new, net-zero-seeking architecture school building, as ENR Southeast reported last year. Maybe it's time for a comeback?
Could operable windows become part of future sustainable designs? (This building looks a little old, after all.) And could building automation make such systems practical?
Does society—and project owners and architects alike for that matter—expect too little of the buildings we produce? Can they be more than they are today?
Can buildings do a better job of engaging people? And possibly even entertain? After all, watching this video, I can't take my eyes off the structure, and what's going to happen next. The building, essentially, gave a little joy to the world.
With that in mind, could technology help to transform our expectations of what buildings can be, and do?
These may very well be silly questions. But maybe they're not. Maybe they're what the artist was trying to point out.
What do you think? Let me hear your thoughts.