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“HydroSkin” is a patented product and research project that explores the building façade beyond its traditional use as a barrier between “in” and “out” and into a multi-functioning, living, breathing object. Researched and designed as a module, the hydroponic prototype addresses three needs: attachment to an existing façade, horticultural life cycle, and illumination. Research shows that modularity of form is paramount for future replication and for a consistent aesthetic when installed on a building façade. The outward facing form mounts to a grid attached to an existing building façade. Within the form lie nutrient feeder tubes and a nutrient reservoir. Planters line cavities within the grid, allowing plants to receive the nutrients they need while being visible. The hydroponic form itself is currently under research for construction through the means of vacuum forming. Virtual applications of the module on various façades demonstrates the feasibility and flexibility of the module’s design. The HydroSkin acts as a vertical farm while it reduces pollution and energy consumption. The incorporated hydroponic system is fed by rainwater and the building condensate discharge. In theory, the HydroSkin or Hydro-Wall can be an income generator for the building owner as it can either be rented or considered an amenity to the building tenants and/or residents. The hydroponic plants grow to the seasons. During the cooler seasons, plants are harvested, allowing more light to enter the building. The incorporated LED lighting at the perimeter of each opening in the 5’x5’ module aids not only with plant growth but with enhancing the building’s image at night. In 2014, due to the amount of interest in understanding the production of HydroSkin, Metalwerks USA decided to collaborate on the building of a prototype of 4 HydroSkin panels. The results are shown in the images and videos.

Note :

This project was designed by Paradigm founder Mercedes Afshar during her time at Hickok Cole.


Washington, DC


Façade Reskin





introduction video


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