Solar Wave Canopies


The Solar Wave Pavilion is one in a series of conceptual designs that explore new ways in which to merge the use of alternative energy gathering and storage systems, into the contemporary built environment. Many of these design proposals are meant to be used as structures that function as public gathering places, gathering places that can be used for various private or community events. In all cases, the structures are equipped with various alternative energy gathering and storing facilities, which allows them to generate, and store, alternative energy for the communities in which they are built.

The Solar Wave Canopies were designed as large, prefabricated, modular, public art installations that make electricity from the sun, and collect rainwater, for the communities in which they are built. The structures are formed from two different curved steel elements that are prefabricated into modular sections. Each of these sections is clad with flexible photovoltaic sheets that convert sunlight into electricity. This solar electricity is sent into the local power grid. Rainwater can also be funneled off of the surface of the curved elements into storage container for later use by the local community.

The curved elements are supported at different heights with steel tubes, and can be assembled into many different site-specific sizes and configurations. In every case, the curved elements form a shaded space below for public gatherings of all kinds. Many small mushroom shaped seats are sprinkled below the curved elements. The Solar Wave Canopies are part of a series of design proposals that explore ways in which alternative energy gathering and storage systems can be integrated into public art installations, in an aesthetically pleasing and exciting way. It is hoped that these kinds of installations will help to promote the integration of alternative energy systems into all forms of the built environment.

La Cité du Vin, Bordeaux


This building does not resemble any recognizable shape because it is an evocation of the soul of wine between the river and the city. A strong architectural statement, La Cité du Vin stands out with its bold curves and shape. An iconic building, this golden frame hosts a Cité within the city, a living space with experiences to discover.

The initial aim of the building’s architecture was genuinely to create a link between La Cité du Vin and the spaces surrounding it through perpetual movement. Anouk Legendre and Nicolas Desmazières, the architects from XTU, designed a space shaped by symbols of identity: gnarled vine stock, wine swirling in a glass, eddies on the Garonne.
Every detail of the architecture evokes wine’s soul and liquid nature: ‘seamless roundness, intangible and sensual’ (XTU Architects). This roundness transcribed in the building’s exterior can also be felt in its indoor spaces, materials and scale. La Cité du Vin dazzles with a golden shimmer reminiscent of the light stone found on Bordeaux facades. Its own facade is made up of silk-screen printed glass panels and perforated, iridescent, lacquered aluminium panels. Changing with the sunshine or the time of day, the building dialogues with the river through its reflections: there are very close parallels with a wine’s constantly changing appearance. This very distinctive shape causes you to look at the river running past from a different perspective. The building’s two entrances on either side create an impression of movement, ebb and flow between inside and outside.

One entrance faces the city and the other faces the river. Higher up, the viewing tower enables visitors to discover the illuminated city and the surrounding land, almost like a watchtower. In the eyes of XTU, the main tour itself follows these flows: wine, the river, the flow of visitors. You pass through the building like a river, with visitors becoming voyagers flowing around the central staircase, perpetuating this impression of movement. This means that visitors are constantly moving as they experience a virtuous circle of discovery. Each person discovers a new world in a fluid, rotating motion leading to an unusual, limitless destination, like a journey through the meanderings of a cultural landscape which feeds the imagination.

Inoxia Apartments, Nantes


Angular balconies edged with bands of reflective steel surround this apartment building in the French city of Nantes, providing occupants on each level with unobstructed views of the sky. The Inoxia project was designed by Paris firm Christophe Rousselle Architects as part of the regeneration of an area around the main station in Nantes.

In total, it accommodates 70 apartments spread across 5,776 square metres of floor area and is described by the architects as an attempt to support the idea that density can be a sustainable model for the city. Apartments are distributed between three towers, two of which are connected on three of their lower floors. The third tower is separate and positioned on the opposite side of a landscaped garden overlooked by all of the buildings.

The two linked towers feature cantilevered balconies with irregular edges that disrupt the density of the building and provide areas where residents can look up, unimpeded, towards the sky. Ridged stainless-steel panelling applied to the front of the balconies produces distorted reflections of the sky and the surroundings, which also help to lighten the appearance of the building.

Seen from afar, the main building, created by offset volumes, emerges as a single pile, a slim, light silhouette with myriad reflections. The variety of the upper floors reinforces the intrinsic qualities of each apartment, contributing to the impression of living on the top floor, even for the lowest storeys.

The technique of incorporating offset balconies lined with reflective cladding was previously employed by Christophe Rousselle for an apartment building in the Parisian suburb of Colombes, where the shiny metal helps to reflect light into the residences. The balconies of the Inoxia building also feature floors made from a metal grille that allows daylight to reach the level below. Each outdoor space has a tree planted in a moveable pot to enhance its connection with the surrounding gardens.

Repetition of the floor plans on some of the levels made the design and construction of the buildings more efficient, while the shifting shapes of the balconies provide each apartment with its own unique character. The single tower has a straightforward geometric aesthetic defined by stacked, offset cubic volumes clad in golden and dark grey metal, with glazed balconies extending outwards on alternating edges. The shorter of the two connected towers features similar golden cladding on its upper storeys, as well as the ground floor, creating a sense of visual unity between the various parts of the project.

Fiery Golden Moon Pavilion Lights, Honk Kong


The gorgeous Golden Moon Pavilion popped up in Hong Kong for the Mid-Autumn Festival, which attracted 500,000 visitors over the course of 6 days. Designed by Laboratory for Explorative Architecture & Design (LEAD), the fiery Golden Moon is made from a steel geodesic dome, bamboo scaffolding, fabric panels and LED lights – and it’s designed as an expression of love and passion referencing the legend of the Moon Goddess.

LEAD combined digital fabrication techniques with local craftsmanship to construct the pavilion in only 11 days. LEAD’s Golden Moon Pavilion offers a new take on traditional Chinese lanterns, and it’s an expression of the romantic legend of Chang’e, the Moon Goddess of Immortality, who can only visit her earthbound husband Houyi on the full moon of the Mid-Autumn Festival.

To symbolize their passionate love, LEAD created a giant fiery moon covered in abstract flame fabric panels that are lit with LED lights and hanging lanterns. Set in a reflection pool, the pavilion lit up the night sky and immersed visitors in a dazzling show of light and sound.

In order to ensure they could construct the structure, LEAD first designed the structure digitally and optimized all the components to ensure the assembly was easily accomplished by the construction team. The structure is composed of a 6-storey high geodesic steel dome, which is covered in bamboo scaffolding hand attached to the skeleton using traditional building techniques.

The digital design optimized size and shape of fabric panels, which were attached to the frame and then uniquely bent to create what appears to be a more random pattern. LED Lights and lanterns hung inside light up the pavilion like a floating lantern on the water. Golden Moon is an amazing example of the intersection of digital design technology and traditional building techniques. LEAD’s accomplishment shows that digital design allows for complex geometry structures built at high speed and low cost using simple methods.

Getafe Market Cultural Center, Madrid


A-cero presents one of his latest works, it is a public building which holds a cultural and leisure center for Getafe village, in the outskirts of Madrid. The main idea of the project is to reconvert completely a deserted building from years, which in a moment was the municipal market. The plot where is located, it is in the center of the city in the main square where it is also the city council.

The status of the existing building was semiruins and the proposal of the city council was to give to the townspeople a multifunctional center focus above all in cultural events. The whole was composed for 2 buildings and an empty plot. The first one with two floors accommodates the main entrance and it was façade. The second building constituted the main part of the old municipal market; it was a diaphanous space with a big height with a lattice of trusses, which are cable – stayed with steel cables and together with the small plot , comprised the front of Garden Street.

The distribution of the first floor has the hall, a big diaphanous all-purposes space, storage and services area. In second floor have 2 large lecture classes and common areas. It is proposed a modern image and technological which accommodate and protected the inside of the old building and preserve all the original character keeping the walls, the hollow ceramic ceilings , the concrete trusses they will be enhanced using sustainable materials of the same industrial character of the building as the polish concrete, micro concrete, etc.
This formal rhythm is broken with some pieces that goes out of the façade in different moments and that project pat on the external illumination of the building. From the façade you have the sense the interior of the big multipurpose area, coated by a second skin, which is the old brick façade that in the exterior it is painted in black.

The façade which is located in the square, where it is the access to the main building the modern design it is interrupted with the conservation of the access of the old market ant the balcony. With this project A-cero pursues the purpose of providing to the city an architectural modern piece in addition to it is socio-cultural function encourage the revitalization of the downtown of Getafe.

Fulton Center, Manhattan


Construction of the Fulton Center includes the restoration of the 125-year-old Corbin Building. Located in the Lower Manhattan Financial District, the 180,000-sf Fulton Center integrates five stations served by nine subway lines in a light-flooded space that includes retail and offices. The facility’s defining visual features are its 53-foot-diameter glass oculus that streams light into a grand atrium, and the accompanying “Sky Reflector Net” art installation that utilizes aluminum panels to transmit sunlight 110 feet down into the center’s lowest levels. The project’s design team, led by Grimshaw Architects and Arup, situated the retail spaces in a two-level, glass-clad structure that matches the curve of the oculus. To achieve the look of the retail structure, the team worked with glazing contractor Enclos and Technical Glass Products (TGP) to develop custom-captured horizontal steel mullions that fit the distinctive shape, for a flush and plumb surface appearance. The solution also involved a mix of fire-rated curtain wall in the upper level and elevator core and non-fire-rated curtain wall in the lower level. The interior spaces are flooded with light, a crucial part of the design aesthetic was glazed curtain walls with clean sightlines. This new transit hub will go a long way toward enhancing the travel experience of hundreds of thousands of customers. They will finally benefit from a thoughtful design that vastly improves passenger flow throughout the station, minimizes congestion and makes transferring far easier than ever before told New York City Transit President Carmen Bianco. Fulton Center also features advertising, retail and commercial space. MTA Arts & Design will also showcase the work of artists.

Fulton Center represents the future of the MTA, so we looked to technology that also would move Arts & Design into the future. A digital arts program gives us the opportunity to offer temporary art, to work with new digital artists and to produce art that engages our customers in a more immediate way. Large-scale electronic displays like the one in Fulton Center open up a world of possibility for new media artists to connect with our customers, whether it’s through a piece that makes them pause and smile or inspires a thought that stays with them on their journey.The new Fulton Center complex is another example of how we are rebuilding Lower Manhattan which will spur a resurgence throughout the area This new station makes traveling easier for subway riders, and is a beautiful public space for visitors and commuters to enjoy.

Surly Destination Brewery, Minneapolis


Surly Brewing MSP is designed as a destination brewery that combines varied public gathering areas and brewery production in Minneapolis’s Prospect Park neighborhood. The 8.3-acres project is located on a brownfield site and comprises of 7 separate parcels of land divided by the municipalities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Planning for the project focused on both the brewery operations’ initial and future needs – the facility is designed to account for upwards of 200 per cent expansion on the site.

In the design, the building features streamlined massing tailored to fit the program and culminating at the gardens. Corrugated metal siding complimented with red cedar accents that reflects the industrial character of the neighborhood and importantly, the Surly brand. The design concept, based on transparency throughout, was developed to put the brewing process on display to ensure the patron is immersed in the brewery experience from multiple touch points within the building and garden.

Visitors arriving by car, mass transit, bike or foot are channeled to a central entrance plaza anchored by a fire cauldron on one end and fountains at the other. The plaza choreographs an entrance experience leading to the front door of the facility. From there, visitors are introduced to part of the brewing process in the entrance ‘chamber’ with dramatic floor-to-ceiling glass walls framing views of the fermentation cellar. Further into the space, an open beer hall with long drinking and eating table’s features window walls that look into the brew house (the heart of the building) at one end and out to a beer deck and gardens at the other. On the west side of the beer hall, an operable glass wall lifts and slides, allowing a free flow of space 10 feet high by 40 feet wide from interior to exterior as visitors wander out to the deck, beer garden and amphitheater.

At the upper level, the space is divided into a more formal restaurant and an event center, named Scheid Hall in honor of the late State Senator Linda Scheid who helped author the “Surly Bill” that allowed brewers to sell their product on their premises. The event center includes a pre-function area and bar overlooking the beer hall and brew house. The restaurant and event space additionally have exterior deck space on the second level overlooking the amphitheater and gardens below. Throughout the building and site, strategic connections link people to one another and the brewery. With a carefully choreographed tour route and curated graphics, visitors are immersed in the Surly Destination Brewery Experience—a brand in and of itself.

Birmingham’s Rebuilt New Street Station


Like any epic journey, turning Birmingham’s 1960s reinforced concrete railway station into a futuristic transport hub, would be full of twists and turns. “We were running four design programmes in parallel, all at different stages and each affecting the building and that was quite complex,” says Stephen Ashton, Atkins’ engineering director on the £750 million project.

Starting in February 2008 Atkins’ original contract was for detailed design of the station redevelopment for client Network Rail. This would open up the dark and gloomy underground platform complex and increase passenger capacity in the station through the creation of a new concourse, improve vertical access to the platforms which sit below ground level, and deliver an enlarged station building. All of which was to be enveloped in an iconic futuristic roof structure.

The glass roof had been replaced with a transparent polymer called ETFE (Ethylene Tetrafluoroethylene) which was to sit on a 30m long structural steel arched trusses. “We had this whole new loading system coming into the building with new roof structure and cladding along combined with the removal of the central part of the existing reinforced concrete frame. This means we are changing how the building moves, how loads were being applied and therefore we needed to analyse the building to ensure that the end product was stable,” says Ashton. From this the Global Stability Analysis (GSA) tool was born. This digital model enabled the team to mimic the impact of local design changes across the whole structure, running computational analysis as major changes were made.
Ashton says that throughout the project there were six key construction stages where the model was used as a construction tool to ensure stability through the build and advice on temporary works design. In the case of the new roof the team sought to ensure that loading was carried vertically through the existing reinforced concrete columns.

“As a result of all these loading changes we ended up strengthening 52 columns with concrete jackets of 100-200mm thick depending on the loads,” says Ashton.

Even more challenging was that as contractors started onsite it became apparent that the limited available as-built drawings did not accurately reflect the true condition of the building. “We had requested intrusive surveys for the start of the detailed design but the client was not able to undertake a significant number of these because it would mean closing parts of the station and Pallasades Shopping Centre which could not be done. So the decision was made to undertake those intrusive surveys during construction,” says Ashton.

This meant making a lot of design assumptions about existing building from the size of columns to percentage of reinforcement. Although the team made conservative estimates to be sure of the structural integrity they also assumed that the building was in relatively good condition which unfortunately turned out not to be the case. In some areas poor construction work on the 1960s building meant that the concrete contained a lot of voids, various concrete elements had deteriorated and rebar became exposed. Original movement joints for the building were not where the plans said they were.



The dragon-inspired pavilion at the Milan Expo by Daniel Libeskind features a sinuous body and a scaly red and gold skin. The Vanke Pavilion, for China’s largest property developer, is a spiralling structure with staircases wrapping around its perimeter and a “forest of bamboo” contained inside. Libeskind described the reptilian structure as a “handcrafted dragon”. Its exterior is clad with approximately 4,000 shimmering ceramic tiles that look like scales. These tiles feature a metallic surface, so they appear to change colour from red and pink to gold and white. The architect started this project thinking about Chinese landscape, and had a big collection of books on Chinese landscape art, which has these incredible mountains and formations. But, when he finished the project everybody saw this dragon. Then he discovered that the symbol of the dragon is underlining the mountain.

Libeskind said he is using the same cladding for a housing project in Berlin, so the pavilion provided a great opportunity to experiment with the material. Each tile is fixed to a steel supporting structure, and none of them appear to touch. Because of this, shadows form underneath each one. If one looks at the form of the pavilion, it is really to be seen in the round. The designer wanted it to be interesting from different perspectives, whether one came from one entrance or another, or whether one just stumble upon it, as it will always change in light. Two grey concrete staircases are slotted in behind the cladding – one forms the entrance and the other functions as the exit route. They wind up from the ground floor towards the two upper storeys and up to a terrace on the roof.

At the entrance, the staircase also widens to provide an informal seating area. Libeskind said he developed this form entirely through traditional drawing and modelling, instead of using the parametric modelling systems favored by architects including Zaha Hadid. The designer never used a computer to develop a form. The difference between this and parametric form is that this is not an aerodynamic form. It really is a handcrafted dragon.

Sky Pavilion, London


Tokyo-based architecture studio Nonscale Co designed the Sky Pavilion for a lawn in the Museum Gardens, a park neighboring the V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green. The studio won the annual Triumph Pavilion competition by ArchTriumph to highlight the work of an individual architect or design team. This year, applicants were asked to investigate how the sky changes the perception of architectural structures. Nonscale’s winning entry was a giant sundial that takes the form of a collection of “twinkling” stars on a mirrored platform. This London pavilion, designed to resemble a smattering of stars, casts reflections on a mirrored plate to operate like a giant sundial.

The pavilion is constructed from 17 twinkling stars, which point towards the North Star. The entire symbolic pavilion functions as a sundial. The architects designed the pavilion as a sundial, because they wanted to give the visitors a strong connection between the sky and the site, not only from its geometry, but, also from its function. People will experience and feel how we used to indicate time from the sky when there was less technology, and [when there was more] importance of astrology on our daily living.

Elongated spines that splay from the center of the stars are designed as gnomons – the triangular blade used to cast a shadow on the base of a sundial and indicate the time. The structure is pinned to a series of interlocking circular mirrors marked with radiating lines. As the position of the sun changes throughout the day, the reflections move across the markings to indicate the time. On each sundial platform, there are gnomons attached to the star units that point towards the North Star. These seven gnomons create shadows on the platform indicating the time from the sky.

In all, 17 small and large laser-cut stars join to form the structure, which is supported by a solid steel core and anchored to the ground. The four-metre-tall structure is made from a stainless steel composite and weighs over 2,000 kilograms. Colored floodlights illuminate the Sky Pavilion after dark when it can no longer operate as a sundial.