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Brief Published: 27 Mar 2015

Skyscraper Design Repels Shadow


London-based architecture firm NBBJ has designed a pair of skyscrapers that reflect light between them to avoid creating a shadow in the space below.

The twisting towers were designed using an algorithm that predicts the angle of the sunlight throughout the day and over the course of a year. This information was then fed into a parametric computer that creates the shape of the buildings, creating the correct curves to redirect natural light into the space that would ordinarily be in shadow. The design's façade is constructed from panels that reflect sunlight individually, preventing too much heat or glare from being concentrated on a single space.

Proposed for North Greenwich in London, the designers state the idea could be used in urban landscapes across the globe. The unconventional design promises to reduce shadow by 50% and create a more usable public space below, altering the effect of tall buildings on people at ground level. As cities continue to expand, designers are rethinking our urban landscapes by putting people at the centre – see Social Innovation for more examples.

Look to our A/W 16-17 Design Direction, Outline for further insight into the transformative qualities of reflection. Its dynamic aesthetic examines how light can be used as a material in itself to alter spaces and provoke curiosity.