Shadowless Skyscraper

Herzog & de Meuron’s proposed skyscraper for Paris reacts to the neighborhood sensitivity to light rights by making a building that casts no shadows. Its form is based on the orientation and sun angles (altitude/azimuth) and leaves shade (on the building itself) but no shadow (on the street or other buildings). This is touted as an incredible achievement, but we projection people know that this is a simple geometric calculation, and that one of the reasons this is novel is that most developers don’t have the luxury of the enormous footprint this building has. Look closely at the renderings. This thing must occupy several city blocks at the ground floor. 

And in case you think this is either novel, or the shape is a direct result of the shadow study, consider Kenneth Franzheim’s Madison Ave. Tower (@22 E.40th St.) in New York, which was designed to eliminate shadow projections. It was completed in 1931. 

kennethfranzheim-1931-shadowless-skyscraper

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