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SOLARshell: The Parametrically Optimized Facade as an Energy Source


To meet future requirements of nearly zero‐energy buildings, renewable energy sources in close proximity to a building will be mandatory. Using well‐oriented roofs for photovoltaics (PV) will not be sufficient, since these surfaces are also considered for other options, such as terraces or greening. Therefore, PVactivated facades are a crucial future potential for achieving the climate goals. However, standard PV modules cannot respond to individual location and design requirements within a dense urban context at the present.

SOLARshell on the other hand consists of small‐scale PV modules that can be flexibly integrated into facades to scale. Depending on a facade’s orientation and shading, parametricgenerative algorithms implemented in the design process rotate the PV modules towards the sun into an optimal angle. The yield per square meter PV area can be increased by up to 55% compared to modules installed in a planar alignment. The optimization produces unique folding geometries with multifaceted haptic and visual appearances. This way, climateneutral buildings can be integrated into the cityscape comprehensively with both creative and technical sophistication.

Project Management & Implementation:

ai:L Architektur‐Institut Leipzig
Prof. Frank Hülsmeier, Architekt
phone +49 341 3076‐6248

Dipl.‐Ing. (FH) Adrian Heller
Stefan Huth, M.A., Architekt
Sarah Knechtges, M. Sc.
Dipl.‐Ing. (FH) Jana Reise

Funded by:

Bundesinstitut für Bau‐, Stadt und Raumforschung
Forschungsinitiative ZukunftBAU

Supported by:

BOBO Produktions‐ und Vertriebsgesellschaft mbH
Dr. Mirtsch Wölbstrukturierung GmbH
Fraunhofer‐Center für Silizium‐Photovoltaik CSP
SGB Steuerungstechnik GmbH
SolarWorld Innovations GmbH
fischerwerke GmbH&Co.KG

Mock‐up Photo: A. Heller, ai:L

Visualisation CGI: A. Heller, ai:L

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