Nearly all sustainable architecture concepts include solar energy in some way, but not all of them
do it in a big, bold way, bringing solar power to towering new heights. These 13 soaring solar powered skyscrapers incorporate solar cells in new and unexpected ways, from photovoltaic facades for existing buildings to flexible solar membranes that act as a building’s living ‘skin’.
Chicago Solar Tower
(images via: evolo)Chicago is home to more than one unfinished mega-skyscraper, stalled by the state of the economy. But we can still hope that this Chicago Solar Tower by Zoka Zola Architects will someday become reality, bringing a highly visible example of sustainable urban design to the Windy City. The Solar Tower features a facade of round solar collectors on tracking arms that follow the sun throughout the day, increasing solar production 40% over fixed-arm arrays, and even the wind pressure on the frame of the solar array could be converted into clean energy.
The Lighthouse, Dubai
(images via: atkins-me.com)Sure, the Lighthouse in Dubai doesn’t entirely rely on solar power to keep it going (theoretically, that is – it’s just a concept.) The design includes three gigantic 225-kilowatt wind turbines, which will produce a whole lot of energy. But it’s also covered in 4,000 photovoltaic panels on the south-facing facade that will absorb the plentiful sunlight available in this desert landscape.
EDITT Tower, Singapore
(images via: tr hamzah & yeang)Economy permitting, Singapore may soon get a new 26-story vertical farm that packs as many solar panels as possible into 855 square meters to produce at least 40% of the building’s electricity. The EDITT (Ecological Design in the Tropics) Tower will be constructed from both recycled and recyclable materials and half of its exterior will be planted with organic local vegetation. Rainwater harvesting, graywater systems and a possible human-sewage-to-biogas project round out the impressive list of eco-friendly features.
Stackable Solar Skyscraper, Mexico City
(images via: design top news)
Nearly every level of the massive, airy Vertical Park design for Mexico City by Jorge Hernandez de la Garza contains solar panels to harvest all the sun it needs to provide power for homes, offices and recreation space. The stackable design allows expansion and even relocation as necessary, adding more sky gardens and urban farms.