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Hairs that tingle: An electric cladding proposal by Belatchew Labs.

Images: Belatchew Labs.

There is a growing feeling amongst architects and designers that the use of photovoltaic cells, with their current rates of inefficiency is a deceit. Thankfully, the unease is is driving the search for alternative sources of renewable energy for use in buildings. This is the second post this week looking into interesting ideas as to what might come next.

This idea, proposed by Belatchew Labs, a studio within Belatchew Arkitekter, is to cover the building in piezoelectric -electric fibres that would generate electricity as well as animate the building façade.

The building proposed for the scheme is the Söder Torn building in Stockholm, Sweden. It was to have been a 40 storey tower, but construction was stopped at just 25 stories in 1997. The proposal is to find space for new residences, and to clad the building in the electricity generating system.

The system works when wind acts on the building façade, moving flexible polymer fibres something like hair or fur on the skin of an animal. This mechanical action places the fibres under mechanical stress that induces an electric charge in piezoelectric material. This charge is then recovered as electricity for use in the building and feeding back into the local grid.

 

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