Weiss Architecture Studio

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Chitgar Tower

The site is located in a rapidly growing area adjacent to the North of Tehran. It is in a strategic location situated between several scattered housing developments and the city. The aim is to create a link between them. The Alborz Mountains form a prominent natural boarder immediately to the north of this new district, which will also be occupied by several parks and cultural complexes.

Our initial objective was to construct a dialog between the form of the proposed building and the surrounding environment. The project develops a multi-criteria approach that responds to the location of the site with its unique views as well as the climatic characteristics of the region, the physical program and material performance. We looked to integrate our research interests of adaptive and responsive architectural systems with the aforementioned criteria.

The l-shape of the building enables spectacular north-south-east views. The narrow depth of the building is differentiated to allow for a maximum amount of daylight to reach the internal spaces. The narrowness of the depth also provides the office spaces with dual north/south views. To optimize the views from within the building out towards the surrounding landscape a sweeping curved transparent envelope has been proposed. The orientation of the curved facade necessitated the use of a secondary climatic skin to provide protection against exposure to direct sunlight. This secondary skin consists of a pneumatic system which acts as a passive modulator of the buildings internal environment. The use of lightweight materials such as ETFE will reduce the total weight of the overall structure by 75%. This reduction is in comparison to the weight of the structure based on the use of conventional building materials. The energy consumption of the building during construction and after will also be dramatically reduced as a result of the choice of materials and construction techniques.

The secondary skin curves back upon itself to form a canopy that extends out over the public platform, which leads up to the main entrances. The public platform, situated at the base of the building provides access to a hyper market as well as other programs within the building. The highly accessible and open nature of the platform will create a key external space, which will form an important urban node within Tehran.

Taiwan Tower

As much as 97 percent of Taiwan’s energy is imported. Over the past two decades Taiwan’s energy dependency grew faster than the island’s GDP, at an annual rate of 6.3 percent. Our vision is to create a building which showcases sustainability innovation becoming a benchmark for future buildings in Taiwan.

The configuration of the buildings layout and programmatic spaces responds directly to internal environmental requirements. Mechanically ventilated spaces like the museum with mainly artificial lighting requirements are orientated towards the South West. The proposed museum section of the tower helps to shade and protect the office block section from overheating as a result of solar gains. The restaurant and panoramic viewing area is situated at the top of the building where the museum and office sections of the building meet.
While some of the sustainable building strategies proposed for the project are clearly visible – i.e. the photovoltaics and the solar dehumidification components, other strategies are not immediately apparent. An educational strategy will be implemented at the museum, which will introduce visitors to sustainability issues in the built environment and will make them aware of the building’s response to those issues.
Building energy performance is measured as energy demand per area over the year. Our aim is to optimise the energy demand through both passive and active design. This will be achieved by considering the different spatial requirements and understanding the energy demand over the year (climatic responsive design).

To optimise energy performance the following criteria will be considered:

- Defining different climatic internal zones distinguishing between different HVAC requirements and where possible passive systems can be used (such as natural ventilation).

- Understanding the high potential for natural ventilation and implementing a cladding system which allows us to utilize pressure driven ventilation for the office spaces.

- Integrating renewable energy systems to reduce total energy costs, (our target is for 1% of the total energy costs to be reduced through the use of photovoltaics alone).

- Reducing the heat island effect by incorporating lots of green spaces into the landscaping of the site.

- Highly reflective materials such as Albedo to be used for the external cladding on the roof.

- Highly efficient use of water, (target = 40% min. below baseline)

Our vision is to create a building which becomes an emblem of sustainable design, which responds to future needs.

Benneton HQ

Located in Tehran, Iran’s largest city and fringed by the Alborz mountain range, the proposed Benetton Headquarters is based on a multi-criteria design approach. The design employs complex geometric strategies alongside climatic strategies.

The form of the Benetton Head Quarters evolved as a response to the climatic challenges specific to Tehran. To create the form a process of rotating a U-shaped volume around the vertical axis was used, which left one edge of the building open at the entrance and public level, while creating an almost enclosed central courtyard to protect the internal spaces from direct sunlight. The complex overall geometry of the building volume was further articulated through the application of Penrose patterns that cover the doubly curved interior facade using only three different iterations. In so doing, environmental knowledge, digital simulation and mathematical expertise made it possible to arrive at an exciting and feasible answer to a complex design problem.

The translucent volume of the inner courtyard gradually unfolds on approach from the street, lending itself to exploration. The courtyard leads to two levels occupied by retail outlets. The openness of these levels creates a transparency that enables free circulation. By using transparent materials and arranging the more opaque materials in such a way so as to allow views through it creates a physical porosity. The porous nature of the envelope the buildings envelope enables the interior spaces to be visible from all sides. It also provides a passive form of ventilation and light modulation.

The intricate nature of the green inner skin creates a delicate interplay of light and shadows, designed to be reminiscent of the puzzled roofs inside traditional bazaars. Both the outer skin and the inner crystalline skin change in appearance according to the season and transient phases of the surrounding trees.

Offices are spread over five floors. Each floor can alternatively be divided in two, three or four independent offices. Every office disposes of both separated rooms and open work spaces. Therefore the best views to the South and North are completely freed. The crystal skin refracts light into the internal courtyard space, creating interesting effects. The South and West facades are double skinned. We believe that our design significantly reduces the energy consumption of the building.

The quasi crystal theory in modern mathematics demonstrates how the random patterns of particular tiles work in rare cases of Persian classical architecture. Scholars from Harvard and Stanford Universities believe that Islamic mathematicians were aware of this complex formula and they translate it through 3 to 5 model iterations into a practical extensible scheme, allowing simple, fast and accurate execution by artisans.

Alter Tower

Colours have had a strong presence in the history of Peruvian art, architecture and culture. According to the international colour guide the colour traditions of Peru’s indigenous people drive the country’s modern conventions. The Andes, which are the longest continental mountain range in the world, are filled with a great diversity of plant flora. The Andean people have utilized this flora for many generations. The use of plants for their medicinal properties as well as for the extraction of pigments used for dyes and paints is a lasting tradition. Employing vivid colours will strongly bond Peruvian contemporary architecture with its historical art and culture.

Colours used in buildings have become an emerging theme of discourse taking place worldwide. The Alter Tower engages with this discourse, creating a connection between Peruvian contemporary architecture and the use of colours.

In recent years colour has been widely reintroduced into a various range of architectural projects. Based on information conveyed by a group of researchers at the Polytechnic University of Valencia on colour, four main concepts can be associated with chromatic versatility. These concepts are: transformation, fragmentation, movement, and innovation. The design proposal uses the aforementioned four principals in order to create a dynamic climatic skin that passively reacts to its surrounding environment. These principles, alongside the scale, geometric configuration and colours of the building enable it to effortlessly stand out from the other buildings in the vicinity.


The design concept of Transflatable is derived from the aggregation of a single inflatable component, which can be easily produced. The aggregation also allows each component to be assembled in various forms and organizations based on its needs, function, site, and performance. Aggregated layers of transparent components will create a novel and unique spatial experience. Modular space filler allow for a diverse range of sectional variations.

Geometrically, each component is a space-filling rhombic dodecahedron or plesiohedron which can be used to generate a diverse range of spatial tessellation through only one prefabricated module. Because of its geometry, it can be easily pre-fabricated by folding two layers of transparent or translucent PVC and welding them to get the 40×70x40 cm module. These components after inflation can be easily connected via a Velcro belt which can rapidly attached and detached for quick assembly and disassembly. Approximately 1600 components are needed to produce an interesting 50sqm space, while for landscapes and sitting areas the number can be reduced to 500.

Anchor points can be hidden in between the first layers of the components of the pavilion. They can be either water or sand filled components or simply connected to anchor points such as concrete blocks. The pavilion can have various functions. It can be used as furniture. Aggregations can produce structure and enclosures. Water filled components can function as anchoring which can be hidden in the aggregation.

Components are porous in their default state. The performance of the pavilion and its relationship with the surrounding environment is further enhanced by attaching an inner balloon inside the space beneath the connected components. This secondary skin shelters the interior space in severe environmental conditions. The injection of dry and non-toxic smoke into the inner tube can transform the pavilion from a semi-transparent into a translucent structure, preventing direct sunlight penetration when needed. Computational Fluid Dynamic Analysis show how the aggregation of porous components enables natural cross ventilation to occur within the envelope.

Aggregation as an organization system has the benefits of ease of assembly, robustness, and flexibility. Failure of a few modules will not cause the failure of the whole structure. Increasing damage will decrease performance, but degradation will be gradual, without sudden loss of function. The failure or replacement of a single component will not cause a complete failure of the structure. Individual components can be replaced while the emergent structure can remain.