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Surprising Science

“Hairy” Skyscraper Would Generate Its Own Power

A Swedish architecture firm proposes covering a landmark Stockholm building with plastic “hairs” that would convert the wind they capture to electricity.

What’s the Latest Development?

Swedish firm Belatchew Arkitekter has designed a conceptual add-on to buildings that challenge the notion of fixed structures while also providing a necessary function. Their “Strawscraper” concept involves cloaking a building — Söder Torn, one of the tallest buildings in Stockholm — in thin, movable plastic straws, or “hairs,” that capture wind and convert it into electricity. The proposed design also includes the adding of 16 floors to the structure, restoring the vision of Söder Torn as designed by the original architects, Henning Larsen, before a disagreement between them and the client forced them to quit the project.

What’s the Big Idea?

Lead architect Rahel Belatchew Lerdell says of turning an iconic Stockholm building into an urban wind farm, “Architecture must deliver solutions to contemporary problems or issues.” The straws would be made of “composite material with piezoelectric properties” and would make very little noise during operation. The electricity they generate would help provide “what the building needs to become positive net energy.” Also, their gentle movements would resemble “wheat swaying in the wind,” giving the static building a new and more dynamic aspect.

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Read it at FastCompany/Co.Design


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