The True Power of Architecture?
by George Fergusson
We all remember when Rafael Viñoly’s ‘Walky Talky’ skyscraper first went up in London. People were less impressed by its aesthetics than by its ability to cook your breakfast – or even your car if parked in the right place.
Ubiquitous have taken a novel approach to solar cells, where they have sought to remove all evidence of the components, rather than just minimise them. They have achieved this by designing the cells to absorb only the light we cannot see, being of higher and lower frequencies than our visible spectrum. There is some cost in terms of efficiency – where a normal cell would capture 33% of light’s energy, an Ubiquitous cell only manages 10%. Yet this is more than offset by the sheer quantity of potential applications on the architecture of inner cities, the very spaces with the greatest energy demand and yet (until now) the least space in which to place have solar cells.