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Suzhou sky canopy features multimedia projection surfaces

Exteriors | January 1, 2010 | By:

In Suzhou, China, Harmony Times Square, next to Suzhou Industrial Park Jinji Lake, is a new landmark for the city, including office buildings, retail streets, riverfront cafes and a state-of-the-art shopping mall. Its urban design and open canal-side streetscape create a cultural center for the city, and also serve broader needs by integrating expansion and transportation requirements. A variety of bridges, pathways, plazas and retail tenants frame the unique development; the complex also includes a river shuttle service, an air corridor served by an ultra-large square, six subway exits and more than 4,000 underground parking spaces.

The sky canopy adds a unique element to the experience, with multimedia projection surfaces connecting the low-rise retail buildings along the river. Roofed with 292 ETFE air cushions, with five air supply machines to guarantee a permanent source of inflation, the canopy has a PTFE-coated open-weave glass fiber fabric structure directly under the roof, on which approximately 20 million LED lamps are installed, to form what is claimed to be the world’s largest LED display screen. Designed by HOK (Asia Pacific), engineered and fabricated by covertex membrane (Shanghai) Co. Ltd., the canopy has a waved aluminum panel edge and is supported by steel tube pillars. (The PTFE mesh underneath was subcontracted to Beijing N & L Fabric Tech Co. Ltd.)

The soft, shining lights of the sky canopy are “like a shining color stripe floating beside the Jinhi Lake,” combining aesthetics and technology to represent the modern world. The project won a 2009 Award of Excellence in IFAI’s annual International Achievement Awards program. View all the winners at

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