Architects plan skyscraper that 'casts no shadow'

Story highlights

  • Architects design buildings described as "no shadow tower"
  • Concept could help ensure sun around skyscrapers could reach ground level

(CNN)An architecture firm is shedding new light on building skyscrapers, literally.

A concept for a "No Shadow Tower" was recently put forward by the London branch of NBBJ architects. The ambitious structure would be built to reflect light between two high-rises to ensure more sunlight can reach ground level.
It works by using an algorithm in the design phase to calculate which panels on a building will be in view of the sun at certain hours of the day depending on its location, shape and the time of year.
These panels can then be strategically placed during construction to bounce light down into public spaces at the foot of the buildings.
How it works: Shadowless skyscraper
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"You can't remove the shadow from one building," said Christian Coop, design director of NBBJ London.
"(But) if you have two buildings, one to the north and one to the south, you could form the building to the north to act like a mirror that would reflect the light in complete sequence to track the shadow from the south."
Promotional literature from the architects says this technique can help reduce shadows by about 60%.
NBBJ submitted the concept for a recent competition run by New London Architecture (NLA) think-tank that aimed to discover how skyscrapers could benefit public spaces.
With the NLA predicting more than 200 new skyscrapers could be built in the UK capital over the next few years, NBBJ think the idea could be of use to designers and architects working elsewhere in the city.
Coop also states it could be of interest in a number of other cities that are developing rapidly.
"We see it as an effective tool. You can run the software in any other location in the world," Coop said.
In some hot locations like Dubai or the Middle East, he added, it might even be more beneficial to design a building so there is more shadow than light during warmer months.