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Daily Archives: November 15, 2011

Adaptable structures for desert light and comfort

Senscity Paradise
Universe Las Vegas, NV /USA and
Acropolis Universe Dubai/UAE
Behnisch Architekten + Transsolar
Project Study: 2004-2005

The objective of the 61 acre project is to create an educational space and a leisure space in the desert. Families will become familiar with nature’s laws while in a tempered microclimate. Essentially, it will be an oasis in the desert that reduces consumption of non-renewable energy and instead use progressive sustainable design to cope with the extreme temperature range, sun, and wind.

Seen from above it looks like flowers. They allow real vegetation to grow under them in the harsh climate. Metal alloy structures stand 30 meters tall and the “petals” in total range from 91 meters  to 300  meters wide. The translucent petals shelter from the sun and also generate energy, up to 20,000 Mwh per hour.Photovoltaic panels, solar collectors, and a wind turbine in the stem will exploit the climate to generate thermal energy and air conditioning.  Pipes in the petals and stem will allow water to evaporate and interact with the hot, dry air outside. The panels were also designed to be mechanical to control shade and light by letting light through in the winter and blocking it in the summer.

The big flowers would be white reflective metal.  All buildings would be built below road level and the paths, gardens, and waterways run above. This provides additional protection from the harsh climate.

According to an article in 2005, the project was due to be completed in 2008 and was designed with the assistance of the Transsolar Institute of Stuttgart and is one of the world’s most advanced projects in the field of sustainable architecture.

According to a lecture in 2008, the project is now a conceptual project. The experience is magical, inventive, inspired, and also rooted in mechanical engineering. It is conceptually significant but has not been built yet for the reasons that it is such a large and expensive project. 

Behnisch Architects are based in Stuttgart, Boston and Los Angeles, Behnisch focuses on environmental design or “the pursuit of excellence in the built environment, while carefully respecting both needs and available resources”.

The term sustainable design in the U.S. is often misused. Design must also take into account an individuals personal health as well as environement, economy, and culture.