Solar-powered theater in France considered engineering feat
Japanese architect Shigeru Ban recently completed an innovative theater building in Paris, featuring a wall of solar panels that is movable so that it can follow the sun all day.
Ban created the Seine Musicale theater building in collaboration with French architect Jean de Gastines. In the western suburbs of Paris, on the Île Seguin, the round building can seat 5,500 and contains two separate main halls, five recording studios, several practice rooms, as well as a huge rooftop garden planted with more than a dozen different tree species, reports Jetson Green.
What’s considered the most impressive part of the building is the 200-ton and 147-foot (45-meter) movable “sail” covered in solar panels. It is a heliotropic surface, which is capable of automatically tracking the path of the sun at a rate of 16 feet (5 meters) per minute. In this way the solar power generation of the array is maximized, while the “sail” also provides shading for the interior.
It is considered a feat in sustainable design, and Ban hopes in time the building will become one of the world famous symbols of Paris, alongside the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre pyramid.
The theater, which took four years to complete, has a timber structure, which is robust enough to support its glass skin. The ceiling of the 1,150-seat classical music auditorium is made out of hexagonal elements that satisfy the acoustic demands of building such a structure. It is covered with an array of tubes that are made from wood, cardboard and paper, while weaved wooden slats cover the walls.
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