House of StrawsSunday 19th May 2013
There have been various designs and concepts for running wind power on urban buildings - but they are few and far between - so it is with interest that Belatchew Arkitekter has conceived the Strawscraper for Stockholm.
The Strawscraper would add an extension of Söder Torn building, adding a new energy producing shell of straws that can recover wind energy over the whole building - transforming it into a furry landmark for the city.
What was supposed to become a building of 40 flights became 26. Söder Torn in central Stockholm was finalized 1997, but the architect Henning Larsen had already left the contract after having lost influence over the design of the tower, so the cut off building remains to this day. Belatchew Arkitekter wish to give Söder Torn its original proportions and at the same time explore new techniques that could create the urban wind farm of the future.
By using piezoelectric technology a large number of thin straws can produce electricity merely through small movements generated by the wind. The result is a new kind of wind power plant that opens up possibilities of how buildings can produce energy. With the help of this technique, surfaces on both old and new buildings can be transformed into energy producing entities.
Furthermore, an additional aspect is revealed when the constant movement of the straws creates an undulating landscape on the facades. What is usually considered to be the most static of all things, the building, suddenly comes alive and the construction gives the impression of a body that is breathing. The straws swaying in the wind gives the building a constantly changing facade further reinforced at nighttime with lighting in changing colors.
The straws of the facade consist of a composite material with piezoelectric properties that can turn motion into electrical energy. Piezoelectricity is created when certain crystals’ deformation is transformed into electricity. The technique has advantages when compared to traditional wind turbines since it is quiet and does not disturb wildlife.
It also functions at low wind velocity since only a light breeze is sufficient for the straws to start swaying and generate energy. The existing premise on top of the building is replaced with a public floor with room for a restaurant. The new extension creates, apart from the energy producing shell, room for the citizens with the possibility to reach a lookout platform at the very top of the tower with an unmatched view of Stockholm.
Sunday 19th May 2013