Designing London's New Shadowless Skyscraper Isn't Magic, Just Good Science

By Chris Mills on at

The boom in skyscrapers is good for lift manufacturers, but can be bad for residents who have to live in shadows of other structures. Using computer-aided design and some seriously big mirrors, architects in London have come up with a plan to build a pair of skyscrapers with no shadow at all.

As Wired reports, the proposal from NBBJ uses a pair of skyscrapers, whose curved surfaces act like mirrors, reflecting sunlight back at each other to remove any shadow at all. This isn't like that other famous sun-reflecting skyscraper in London, the Walkie Talkie; instead, with these structures the reflected light would be diffuse, and not able to, say, melt cars or fry eggs.

Rather than the traditional idea of architects sitting down with a big sheet of paper and sketching cool-looking shapes, the design process apparently involved tweaking a computer model, until the designers had something that had no shadow, but didn't look completely hideous (and would still stand up).

The full report is worth a read — both as an insight into the design process behind iconic buildings these days, and also a look into a technology that may be coming stateside in the future. [Wired]

Image credit: NBBJ