Innovation Station – The Skyscraper without a Shadow

A while ago we published a fascinating article on the world’s tallest building to date following a trip to Dubai by one of our team members.  We found the article so interesting that we’ve decided to look for some more tall or unusual buildings to entertain our readers and include on our blogroll some regular Innovation Station articles.  While most of us probably work on more mundane projects, it’s always fun (to say nothing of an educational experience) to take a look at some of the cutting edge projects around the world.

The building we’re looking at today has not yet been built but it’s an innovative design for a skyscraper without a shadow – a veritable vampire in the annals of building design.  There are no dark arts involved with this building though – it’s all in the carefully conceived design.  The new concept by global architects NBBJ uses algorithms to create a tower that doesn’t block the sun at street level.  This skyscraper has been specifically designed for London where we’re set to see an increase in skyscrapers in the coming years in a city where space really is at a premium.

The no shadow skyscraper comprises twin towers that twist around each other.  The reflective facades of the towers are angled carefully in order to direct the sunlight so that it bounces off one tower onto the shadow of the other which delivers a 60% reduction in the shadows between the buildings and increasing the light at street level.  The design has been carefully calibrated to take into account London’s geographical location and the changing position of the sun throughout the seasons.  Because the sun is so much higher in the sky during the summer months, this means that the towers are broader at the top. 

This design can be adjusted to make this type of building work in other parts of the world.  For instance, in a hot city like Dubai the form would be modified to provide less of a reflection during the hotter season.  In cities like New York (where the tallest skyscrapers are casting long shadows over Central Park, the city’s celebrated open space), this type of design could be used to keep street level spaces open and sunny. 

NBBJ takes an innovative, holistic approach when designing buildings and planning urban spaces and social and environmental issues are important elements when designing.  Consideration is given to the space in order to adopt building designs that promote health and wellbeing - both within the buildings and in the surrounding locations.  With so many of our cities becoming overcrowded, this is a welcome development – thoughtful design that benefits the local population – we really do need more of this on a global basis.

Sustainability is also an important issue for NBBJ, considering it the duty of planners and designers to honour our relationship with the natural environment around us.  With the built environment increasingly impacting the planet on which we live, NBBJ is committed to creating healthy places and works to minimize carbon emissions and conserve natural resources.