International design and innovation office Carlo Ratti Associati, in collaboration with Dubai’s Museum of the Future, has developed a dynamic, reflecting canopy which can provide digital shading and climate adaptation in cities.
The first working prototype – called “Sun&Shade” – will be unveiled in Dubai on February 14th, 2017 during the World Government Summit, as part of the “Reimagining Climate Change” exhibit at the Museum of the Future.
The Sun&Shade canopy is based on an array of mirrors that track the sun. Much like a sunflower, each mirror can move on a double axis and reflect the sun’s rays away from the ground – allowing the precise control of the desired level of shading and natural cooling underneath.
Reflected rays, in turn, are concentrated on a photovoltaic receiver, located a safe distance away, that generates electric power. “In developing Sun&Shade we were inspired by the Middle Eastern tradition of shadowing in architecture and public space”, comments Carlo Ratti.
“Sun&Shade aims to bring this concept to the next level, allowing shadowing to be digitally controlled. While reflected sun is concentrated far away, producing heat at a safe distance from people, the space underneath the canopy cools down” says Carlo Ratti.
The result is a system whose applications could be extraordinary in terms of increasing climate comfort, potentially allowing vast outdoor portions of cities such as Dubai to become inhabitable all year long – while producing clean energy for the community.
Sun&Shade is part of Carlo Ratti Associati’s ongoing research into using digital technologies for climate adaptation. At a time when climate change is becoming increasingly pressing, Carlo Ratti Associati aims to explore how architecture can help its prevention and adaptation.
- Architect: Carlo Ratti Associati
- Project Team: Carlo Ratti, Antonio Atripaldi, Pietro Leoni, Emma Greer, Nicola Scaramuzza
- Collaboration: Dubai’s Museum of the Future
- Climate engineering: Transsolar
- Mechanical and Electronic Engineer: FGM Works
- Software Engingeering: Tonicminds srl
- Year: 2017
- Photographs: Pietro Leoni, Courtesy of Carlo Ratti Associati