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Research into flexible active skins opens up new BIPV possibilities
As building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) technology becomes more advanced, architects are getting involved in how new systems affect not only a building’s performance, but also its appearance. “The photovoltaic industry was until now largely developed by engineers,” said Daniel Martín Ferrero, a Madrid-based architect researching solar design. “The architect must enter the industry to develop their integration into the urban scene.” Ferrero has launched a new company named The New Solar Architecture with a goal of bringing a higher level of design to solar energy-producing facades.
“I try to convey the idea that the generation of clean energy can be part of the beauty of its major consumer, the city,” said Ferrero. The company’s goal is to design an active skin whose solar modules are composed of flexible material, which would facilitate a broader range of BIPV design possibilities for architects. Now in the conceptual design and construction phase, his Free Form Solar Powered hexagonal modules are manufactured with photovoltaic laminated glass.
Along with the modules, Ferrero has developed details for potential construction systems that would integrate them, including ventilated facades, curtain walls, and monolayer structures. The hexagonal, honeycomb-like skins could have far-reaching implications for BIPV design in projects as small as parking structures or as large as Olympic stadiums. Watch the video below to see the fabrication process behind BIPV glass: