Today’s Solutions: January 31, 2023

Most projects designed by the Dutch architecture firm MVRDV tend to leave a lasting impression on whoever lays their eyes on them. The company’s upcoming project, Sun Rock, is no exception.

Designed for Taiwan’s government-owned power company Taipower, the project takes the form of a building that’s covered entirely in solar panels. The monolithic structure will be used for the storage and maintenance of renewable energy equipment, and will also feature a public gallery for those interested in learning more about how renewable energy is generated.

The project comes in anticipation of Taiwan’s planned renewable energy transition. From its shape to its facade, the building is strategically designed to generate as much solar power as possible, serving as a symbol of the country’s efforts to wean away from fossil fuels.

Sun Rock will find its location at Taiwan’s Changhua coastal industrial park, near Taichung, a site that receives a significant amount of sunshine all year round. To reap most of that sun exposure for clean electricity, the building features a strategic sloping southern front, which creates a large surface area that directly faces the sun during the middle of the day. Meanwhile, the northern side takes the shape of a dome, maximizing its exposure to the sun in the mornings and evenings.

The building will support at least 4,000 square meters of solar panels, enough to generate 1 million kilowatt-hours of clean energy annually — the equivalent of burning 85 tons of crude oil, reports designboom. While most of the facade will be covered in PV panels, the structure will also feature windows and air vents on its upper side.

Sun Rock will contain offices, a maintenance workshop, and a warehouse. A gallery space on the first floor will allow the public to check out solar panels and wind turbine blades being repaired. Another gallery will sit on the top floor, while at roof level will be a terrace with trees for visitors and employees.

“Of course, we aim to make all of our projects as sustainable as possible,” says MVRDV founding partners Winy Mass. “Yet we see that projects can go beyond just being sustainable in themselves. This project has unique and fascinating potential. The user is an energy company, which has allowed us to do more than usual.” The project is slated for completion in 2024.

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