Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Energy Systems

Above: Energy Roof design by Coop Himmelb(l)au

I've written here and elsewhere about a project called The Plant, where a group of us envisioned a building that could plug into an urban city system and repair both broken social fabric and infrastructure. The idea is to see how a building can help create energy systems for entire blocks and neighbors can feed off of/ fuel one another.

This is why the Energy Roof caught my eye.

"Energy Roof" is a design concept developed by Wolf D. Prix of Coop Himmelb(l)au. He presented this design over the winter to a group in Perugia, Italy. The idea is that the roof would serve as canopy along Via Mazzini in the center of Perugia while also creating the entry point to the archaeological underground passage that leads you through the history of the city. The structure would also produce energy:

COOP HIMMELB(L)AU developed the design of the roof with the goal to generate energy for the city. While the orientation of the west wing is optimized in relation to solar radiation, the east wing captures wind. The roof consists of three layers: the energy generating top layer, the structural layer in the middle and a layer on the bottom as a combination of laminated glazing and translucent pneumatic cushions. The top layer includes transparent photovoltaic cells to generate electricity and shade the sun. The orientation of the individual cells is generated and optimized by a computer driven scripting program. Furthermore five wind turbines that are placed inside the structural layer are generating additional energy. Both the roof and the underground passage are energy self-sufficient.

This is the way of energy efficiency in urban planning. Imagine going beyond mere buildings and creating mini ecosystems and micro-infrastructure for entire streets, blocks, and communities.