eBraid gathers passive energy, stores it and then delivers to the city around its base. Its form, program and lighting, registering the ebb and flow of energy within, exuberantly announce the building’s role as generator and emitter. Its unique structure, composed of many interlaced strands, is charged and generated by the surrounding environment (solar, wind, city grid). At eBraid’s edges, structural and conductive threads weave into the surrounding energy grid of Philadelphia. The eBraid is a mixed‐use residential and office tower located adjacent to the Schuylkill River on the eastern plot of the University of Pennsylvania Campus. The building features two interconnected braids: an external braided carbon fiber diagrid superstructure and an internal conducting braid with the capacity to absorb, collect and deliver energy and light through a unique construction and fabrication process that integrates photo luminescent pigments and photovoltaic cells in synthetic and structural fibers. A matrix of semiconductors are woven into the braided skins to control energy collection and delivery. eBraid boosts technological advances that hybridize woven and braided form to maximize energy efficiency and high strength‐to‐weight ratio. eBraid is the first building to feature many of these materials. The exterior diagrid structure of eBraid is reinforced for example, with carbon fiber, combining high tensile strength and high modulus in a material that is lightweight and durable. Far superior to other reinforcing fibers or plastics, carbon fiber has five times the strength of steel. The undulating nature of the eBraid affords stepped terraces and sky‐courts that double as wind flutes to bring wind to the inner parts of the building with adjustable dampers. A service track spirals up the braided building with mobile people movers, eBars and energy hubs. The spiraling quality of the braided form offsets each floor, allowing for the flow of natural ventilation, light, view and program. Within the building, the spiral organization affords a continuously unfolding panoramic view.
eBraid 2010, Competition; Design: Jenny E. Sabin