H2 House

A multifunctional demonstration and visitor center for the display of new solar and low energy technology for the Austrian Mineral Oil Processing Company OMV Aktiengesellschaft. The building serves as a public relations educational facility for the public who visit the OMV refinery in Schwechat, Austria. The interior of the building is separated into two zones by a translucent fabric upon which computer animations, video sequences and still images are projected. This rear projection system is supported by scaffolding upon which the projectors can be moved allowing an extremely flexible exhibition space. Behind the screen the mechanical systems of the house are aligned so that when the lighting behind the screen is switched on the projection screen becomes transparent making the experimental energy system of the house visible to the exhibition visitor.

Flexible Interactive Surfaces

Just as the only byproduct of the Hydrogen gas energy process is water, so too, the aesthetic of the building will be aqueous. The image of the building will avoid the high tech mechanical aesthetic where technology decorates the building, instead, it will have a cool wet response to technology. The visitor will be immersed within fluctuating changing surfaces that incorporate very thin interactive technologies. The mass of the building will act as a reservoir both thermally and informationally. These heat and information flows will course through the building which becomes like a radiator, translating the electronic and gaseous into energy. The glass surfaces of the building will be coated in sensitive gels that respond instantly to changes in the external environment.

Aqueous Technology

Where typical technology is attached to the house as an accessory we will:
integrate these systems into the house
make these systems flexible to two kinds of changes, environmental changes and changes in the availability and supply of differing energy sources as it is not monolithic in its energy systems but flexible and adaptable to the future.
these systems will operate visible for the visitor and the house will act as a register or barometer of both the environment and energy supply through the refinery.

This house will be shaped by the movement of the sun not just by an ideal solar angle at a particular time. Organisms are shaped by temporal movements not idealized moments frozen in time. Context is not just pedestrians walking through the house but it is a movement context based on the traintracks, the airport, and the highway.


A network of embedded sensors and fibre optics would connect and control building systems, information systems and telecommunications. The network would control the lighting, electrical power, security, fire alarms, and displays by focusing sensors at variables of interest such as temperature, air pressure, air current and optics. Like the building itself, this fibre network would be used both as a sensor for the triggering of physical systems and as a medium for the transmission of information. The activity of this net would be displayed graphically in real time for the exhibition to the visitor of the building.

Smart Skins

The term “smart skin” originally referred to the incorporation of electronic sensors and radar arrays into airframe surfaces. Rather than attach discrete devices to aircraft the aviation industry is multiplying these sensors into networks, distributing them across the entire aircraft, and embedding them in the surfaces of the aircraft and spacecraft. Both the interior and exterior surfaces of the building would incorporate sensors and fibre optic cables through which information as to the exterior and interior environments could be communicated and responded to. These systems would include the control of the physical systems of the building along with the displays and internet presence. Through the use of graphic displays on computer terminals the status of the building, the refinery and global energy information can be accessed interactively by the visitor.

Energy use is a mosaic of percentages of interacting systems.

A mosaic of energy sources including Hydrogen gas, passive solar and limited active solar technologies, will be integrated so that they might be used in varying degrees throughout the lifespan of the building.

The mass of the house becomes a passive storage device that is activated by both the visitor and the environment. Some of the walls are for passive heat storage in mass. This mass is both stationary and fluid. The heat is moved through the house like the veins of an organism. The physics of the house would extend into the landscape. Therefore the house would be in a kind of park where planting materials that change seasonally would be used for shading and cooling in the summer and wind protection in the winter. Water cooling could be investigated as well as the incorporation of photovoltaic into the landscape rather than pasting them onto the roof of the building. These technologies would be aesthetically and technically integrated into the house and its surrounding site seamlessly. Minimal lighting loads as the coated glass acts as filter both minimizing cooling loads and also improving the quality of light with diffuse sunlight.


The exhibition will be incorporated into a smooth digital surface for access through touch screens and movement activated switching. The interior walls of the structure become information reservoirs. This stored information is accessable through LCD screens that display information about the house and the OMV plant and global energy conditions. The exhibition will respond actively to the movement of the visitor but as well it can be accessed by the visitor at terminals. This will not be a dry exhibition of technology but will engage pleasure and nature in a celebratory and not merely a technical way. A precedent for such a building might date back to the Late Renaissance with Julio Romano’s Villa D’este, where visitors were entertained by the latest hydronic technology like the water organ, hidden fountains and the floating table. This and other examples point to the uses of water energy for human pleasure, environmental experience and emerging technologies.

Exhibition Pavilion and Visitors Center for Alternative Energy Systems
Austrian Oil Company OMV AG, Schwechat/Vienna, Austria
Walter Tauscher, Kurt Pollak, Kurt Heidler, Anton Kellner,
Alexander Buchsbaum, Dieter Karner

Design Team
m.FORM, U.S.A.
Michael McInturf, Greg Lynn, Andreas Froech, Matt Jogan, Cindy Wilson,
Phillip Anzalone, Ulrika Karlsson, Jefferson Ellinger, Heather Roberge
Martin Treberspurg and Partners, Austria
Martin Treberspurg, Andrew Whiteside
Structural Engineering:
Richard Fritze, Austria
Mechanical Engineering:
Peter Schuetz, Austria
H2/Solar Components:
Franz Daberger, SIEMENS AG, Austria
Michael Friess, SIEMENS AG, Austria
Landscape Architecture:
Maria Auboeck, Austria

� Greg Lynn http://synworld.t0.or.at/level2/soft_structures/lynn/H2_House.htm






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