For many decades, architecture has adhered to the same basic design when it comes to both commercial and residential buildings. While some flaunt uniquely angled walls or roofs, most contemporary structures are still box-shaped with either flat or slanted roofs. But does this idea of what a building should look like limit our ability to create super-efficient or even self-sufficient structures?
Determined to think outside the box, artist Michael Jantzen conceptualized a cone-shaped building instead. Dubbed the Solar Winds Cultural Arts Center, the building would use its unique shape to optimize solar- and wind-power technology embedded within.
“The center is composed of seven conical shaped modular structures that are merged together at their bases. Each of the seven are fitted with a large vertical-axis wind turbines designed to be integrated into the shape of the apex of each of the conical shaped forms,” explains the designer, whose work was featured on GreenMuze. “Four of the south-facing cone-shaped structures are fitted with large, integrated photovoltaic solar cell arrays. These solar cell arrays are backed with specially designed solar heat extraction systems.”
Something not immediately apparent when looking at artistic renderings of the center is that all seven of the conical structures merge together at their bases into one large cluster. This creates a large, cave-like open space on the interior that would be ideal for cultural events. Also, because the structure is modular, it would allow relatively easy expansion if the Center needed more space in the future.
In Jantzen’s vision, the wind turbines, solar cells,and solar heat extraction systems provide all of the electricity, space heating and water heating energy the Solar Winds Cultural Arts Center would need to operate. Any surplus of energy generated by the structure would flow back to local communities via the energy grid.