Solar energy doesn’t exactly inspire thoughts of architectural beauty and design potential. For most people, it creates an image of utilitarian purpose. A system created for its functionality, not for its style. Fortunately, there are people who have seen solar power’s inner beauty, and who have worked to integrate it into remarkable structures. Some were made to be works of art, while others were built as a testimony to the possibilities that are born with the introduction of renewable energy. This also gives people an example of just how versatile different pieces of solar technology can be. Building things like this isn’t as easy as just designing something that’s eye catching. Solar energy serves a purpose, and this must be observed in the overall engineering of any project. You can’t just place solar panels at odd angles and call it environmentally friendly art. It must be well thought out and take several different things into consideration.
As renewable energy has grown in popularity, we’re seeing it applied in some inventive ways. The first thing that people need to remember when installing solar panels is that they’re there to collect sunlight. This means that they must be placed advantageously in the areas that are most exposed to the sun. A solar panel in the shade doesn’t do much good whether it looks fantastic or not. In order for these to be an important part of any structure, they need to be able to provide a portion of its energy. This becomes extremely complicated when the structure has several different surfaces. The more angles, the more difficult it can be to decide the placement of the solar panels.
Some designers have actually used mirrors to redirect sunlight towards the solar panels to increase their energy-saving potential so the more places that they can place these panels, the more energy there going to be able to generate. This works to decrease our dependence on fossil fuels and a traditional energy grid. Solar cities like Bakersfield have really helped to advance our knowledge of the application of solar energy in our everyday lives. As the sun becomes a more common source of power, we can expect to see more places getting creative with their solar designs. These are just a few structures that showcase some of the best designs that solar power has to offer:
The Science Pyramid in Denver, Colorado
This beautiful structure, located in the Denver Botanic Gardens, has been designed to emulate all of nature’s best features. The roof is comprised of jagged sections of pyramid shaped materials that jut straight towards the sky. This unique design was influenced by the way that the tectonic plates come together to create natural landforms. The roof is adorned with hexagonal solar panels that work as both a source of energy and additional décor. The tiles fit so well, that they’ve become an iconic part of this structure as a whole.
The Endesa Pavilion in Catalonia
The Endesa Pavilion showcases some of the best architectural talent in the world. The Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia designed this building using a parametric design. It is striking in the way that it uses sharp angles and sections for each individual part of the building. This gives it the appearance of having many different symmetrical structures all jutting from a central area. This design presents the most surface area for solar panels to be attached to where they can continually be exposed to the sun.
The Blauhaus at Niederrheim University
This building takes the pursuit of solar efficiency a step further by installing huge beautiful solar panels that can be moved to follow the sun.