Architects are Designing Skyscrapers That Won't Cast a Shadow

nbbjdesign, Vimeo
nbbjdesign, Vimeo / nbbjdesign, Vimeo

Architects from New York City to Sydney are working on designing skyscrapers that won’t cast a shadow. The light-maximizing building designs are a response to overcrowded city landscapes, where looming buildings block out street-level sunlight.

Some cities, like New York, have had laws in place for decades limiting the amount of light new constructions can block. But while many architects have always attempted to follow regulations, these new shadow-obsessed architects are actively trying to bring more light to city streets.

New York Magazine recently profiled several of these innovative architects, and their impressive ideas: There’s Jeanne Gang’s plans for Solar Carve, which is designed to direct sunlight towards New York City’s Highline Park; Jean Nouvel’s One Central Park in Sydney, which is fitted with mirrors that make it glow; and NBBJ’s proposal for No Shadow Tower, designed to project dappled light into the courtyard between two buildings (which we covered earlier this year).

“Whether a building is a success depends on what it gives back to the public realm,” NBBJ design director Christian Coop told New York Magazine. “So the question is: Can we shape a whole building in order to improve ground floor conditions?”

From the outset, the No-Shadow Tower was imagined as a light-maximizing building, and was designed with that principle in mind. New York Magazine explains, “NBBJ developed a program to analyze the sun’s trajectory and use it to sculpt a form ideally suited to minimizing shadows.”

The final design imagines two London skyscrapers, one taller than the other, with a courtyard in between. The taller building would catch the sunlight as it streamed over the shorter one, and redirect it down into the courtyard. The building is designed to reduce shadows by 50 percent, and to filter small, moving pockets of light into the plaza, bathing it in a soft glow.

The No-Shadow Tower, and other shadow-reducing building designs, seem to represent a hopeful trend: A concern among developers and architects for a building's impact on its surrounding neighborhood. Check out the concept video of the No-Shadow Tower below.

[h/t: New York Magazine]