Architecture

Cascading solar panel canopies define scientific research center

Cascading solar panel canopies...
The Joint Research Centre will feature a series of shading canopies that will host lightweight photovoltaic panels
The Joint Research Centre will feature a series of shading canopies that will host lightweight photovoltaic panels
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The Joint Research Centre is expected to begin construction in 2024
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The Joint Research Centre is expected to begin construction in 2024
The Joint Research Centre will feature a series of shading canopies that will host lightweight photovoltaic panels
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The Joint Research Centre will feature a series of shading canopies that will host lightweight photovoltaic panels
The Joint Research Centre's open and shaded design is suited to the climate in Seville, Spain
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The Joint Research Centre's open and shaded design is suited to the climate in Seville, Spain
The Joint Research Centre's plaza will include water features and lots of plants and trees
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The Joint Research Centre's plaza will include water features and lots of plants and trees
The Joint Research Centre will include a private garden area for staff to relax
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The Joint Research Centre will include a private garden area for staff to relax
The Joint Research Centre's lower floors will include publicly accessible areas, while the upper floors will host private office spaces and research areas
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The Joint Research Centre's lower floors will include publicly accessible areas, while the upper floors will host private office spaces and research areas
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High-profile firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has revealed plans for an ambitiously sustainable new scientific research center in Seville, Spain. Drawing inspiration from the city's shaded plazas, the building will provide respite from the Spanish heat with a cascading "cloud" of solar panel-covered canopies.

The Joint Research Centre (JRC) will also involve Buro Happold and HCP Architecture & Engineering, and will be located on the former Sevilla Expo '92 site. The building's overall design brings to mind the firm's Village project in the United States, and will measure 9,900 sq m (roughly 106,000 sq ft) and host 12 scientific research units and supporting facilities carrying out work for the European Commission.

"Inspired by the shaded plazas and streets of Seville, BIG proposes to cover the entire project site with a cloud of solar canopies sheltering the plaza, garden, and research building underneath, akin to the pergolas typical to Seville," explained BIG. "The canopies consist of square lightweight PV sheets supported by a forest of slender columns. The roofscape cascades down from the center of the site to a human scale height at its periphery creating a variety of public spaces underneath it.

"Underneath, the new Joint Research Centre building is positioned diagonally across the site to connect the JRC directly to the 'Jardin Americano' river-front and the Torre Sevilla market in a seamless continuous public space that is both plaza and promenade. Placing the building diagonally also creates a new public square on one side of the building and a private garden for the JRC community on the other."

The Joint Research Centre will include a private garden area for staff to relax
The Joint Research Centre will include a private garden area for staff to relax

The JRC's interior will be organized so that public areas and amenities such as the dining areas, a conference center and social spaces are accessible on the ground floor, while offices and research units will occupy the upper floors for privacy and security. Collaborative office spaces will face the public plaza, while more private and focused offices will open overlook garden.

Its overall form is designed to boost ventilation and to ensure optimal amounts of daylight inside, reducing the need for artificial lighting and air conditioning. Rainwater will be collected and used for irrigation and it will also be constructed from locally sourced materials, including limestone, wood, and ceramic tiling. According to BIG, the use of low-carbon concrete will reduce CO2 emissions by up to 30 percent, while the pergola cloud shading will be made from recycled steel.

The project was commissioned following an international architecture competition. We've no word yet on when it's expected to be completed but construction work is slated to begin in 2024.

Source: BIG

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2 comments
2 comments
EH
Very nice design, should be easy to construct, as well. I suppose little bit of slope in the shade structures must have been designed-in to allow water run-off. The shades should save a great deal of weathering and maintenance on the main building, too, though the solar cells' limited life will likely take that gain back. Similar structures made as tents using tensile materials such as ETFE film or perhaps fiberglass cloth, with Saarinen-style natural hyperbolic roof forms could be quite economical and extend the life of buildings in hot climates while making them much more comfortable and energy-efficient.
ljaques
Actively and knowingly shading your system for 70% of the day? Oy vay.