The crown of a tree can become truly magnificent only if the tree itself is able to absorb the right nutrients from the soil. Similarly, a complex project can only be developed if it manages to get the right "nourishment" of knowledge. In the large growing medium which is the world of architecture, the Generalkonsulent is able to choose and absorb the most suitable nutrients, necessary to the growth of an impressive crown. This is the concept behind the installation called TREE OF KNOWLEDGE, designed to best represent the figure of Generalkonsulent in design processes.
The foliage of the tree is made up of 26800 matte PVC leaves, made by CNC machines. The number of the leaves was chose to be equal to the number of the students of Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien: each student will be responsible for one of the elements and he himself will be able to put his leaf on the installation, so that all students can cooperate together in the creation of the tree. To obtain the shape of the leaves, a pattern has been developed, specifically designed for completely eliminating the waste of material during the cutting and optimize the cost of the operation. Some leaves, however, are different. The entire foliage, in fact, is designed to be a responsive structure. A system of 71 PIR sensor (Passive InfraRed) allows 71 lighting fixtures to light up when people pass under the canopy: students are the core of the installation, which reacts to their movements guiding them on an illuminated path, as well as the Generalkonsulent guide the operators of the design process to make the right choices.
The big tree, in addition to conceptually represent the working method used in the design of the new campus, also has a strong functional identity: it is the portal that will provide access for students and teachers to databases and digital functions of the university. As well as the Generalkonsulent provides the information necessary to the success of the project, so the tree will provide students with all the information they will need: class schedules, notices of faculty, campus maps, databases of the library system and much more. The permanent installation is not only a beautiful piece of art, but will also have a function. The access to the portal will happen through some touch-screens supported by a metal structure. This structure is based on a Voronoi cage, which allows to control the inclination of the different faces, thanks to some control points. We can control which faces must be vertical (to turn them in screens), which must be horizontal (to touch the ground) and which may have a random inclination. The edges of the cage are constituted by aluminum tubes, joined through spherical nodes, specially welded.
The vertical faces of the structure will support the installation screens. These screens are made of coated glass with two kind of films. A holographic film will help transform the glass into a screen and make the projected images bright and clear. The special coating, able to diffuse the light, is applied only on the back of the glass, so it is possible to look through the screen when no images are projected. The second film is an interactive one. This have lots of micro-sensors that are able to perceive the user's touch and, thanks to an integrated circuit already provided with the film itself, to transmit it to the control computer. There will be five screens: four access stations for students, grouped on the right side of the installation, and one screen that will show the main news and information about the university. All of these systems will be connected through a cable system, hidden in the trunk of the tree, the real technological heart of the installation. In fact, it will consist of a series of twisted hoses, which contains the electrical connections necessary for the functioning of the entire tree: the trunk will make a hidden contribution, but essential to the success of the work, just like the Generalkonsulent.
2 users love this project