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    Mortarless brick, folding acoustic wall and automated Big Ass Fan awarded at World Architecture News Awards

    Nathan Johnson

    A mortar-less façade brick, a folding acoustic wall and an automatic Big Ass Fan are the winners of the World Architecture News (WAN) Products Innovation of the Year awards for 2015.

    Now in its sixth year, the WAN Products Innovation awards included entries from all around the world and organised them in three category titles: Façade Products, Building Automation/Control Systems and the Energy efficiency sub-category.

    A clay fired façade tile called ‘Petersen Cover’, developed by Petersen Tegl and Min2 Architects, was the winner of the Façade Products category, taking the prize ahead of a 3D fibre cement freeform façade which was also highly commended in the category.

    The Petersen Cover is a further development of the ‘Kolumba’ brick by Petersen Tegl.  The tiles are 100 per cent handmade in wooden moulds and composed of various combinations of English and German clay and fired at very high temperatures. The tiles are fixed to a frame with no mortar and no expansion joints and can be removed the same way for recycling or reuse. The product was developed as a prototype by Min2 Architects for their own home in Bergen aan Zee, Holland.

    The Skyfold® Classic 60™ by Railtech Ltd (Skyfold) took out the Building Automation/Control Systems sub-category and according to the judges was an obvious choice as the winner. The vertically folding retractable acoustic operable wall partitioning system is fully automated and can fold and store in the ceiling when not in use. It delivers high acoustic levels (up to STC 60 or RW59) when extended while taking up no floor space when stored.

    A recent retrofit project for a multinational corporate office in London had specific requirements from the client for their meeting room space. The architect selected Skyfold®’s Classic 60™ to achieve the highest onsite acoustics, reconfigure the space by anyone in 2 minutes and save considerable floor space. The wall panels were finished in customised graphics to reflect the corporate identity and room aesthetics.


    Related: TransGrid HQ and 8 Chifley shortlisted at World Architecture News/WAN Awards


    The Haiku fan with SenseMe technology by Big Ass Fans was the winner of the Energy Efficiency sub-category and was called “an obvious choice” for the category judges. Developed in Kentucky U.S.A, the Moso bamboo fan exceeds American ENERGY STAR requirements by 450 per cent and uses just US$5 of electricity annually.

    Designed with an onboard computer and array of sensors, Haiku with SenseME turn on and off automatically when people enter or leave a space and also monitor temperature and humidity, adjusting Haiku’s speed when conditions change. 

    Haiku with SenseME is the first fan controlled by a smartphone app so residents can use the app to set schedules for both the fan and LED or select from several unique and energy-saving control modes. Sleep Mode lowers Haiku’s speed hourly to save energy overnight, and Gradual Awake Mode gently increases the fan’s speed and light as morning arrives for a more pleasant wake-up.

    Images: WAN.

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