Strawscraper by
Belatchew Arkitekter


Swedish studio Belatchew Arkitekter wants to transform a Stockholm skyscraper into a wind farm by covering it in thousands of electricity-generating bristles.

Strawscraper by Belatchew Arkitekter

Belatchew Arkitekter's Strawscraper concept for transforming Henning Larsen's Söder Torn tower involves adding a 16-storey extension over the top of the building, then covering the entire facade in hairy-looking plastic straws designed to move with the wind.

Strawscraper by Belatchew Arkitekter

The straws would use piezoelectric technology to convert motion into electricity, without the noise and other environmental problems of a typical wind farm.

Strawscraper by Belatchew Arkitekter

"What is usually considered to be the most static of all things, the building, suddenly comes alive and the construction gives the impression of a body that is breathing," explain the architects.

Strawscraper by Belatchew Arkitekter
Concept diagram

Completed in 1997, the 86-metre-high Söder Torn is one of the tallest residential towers in Stockholm. It was designed by Danish architect Henning Larsen, who famously walked away from the project after planning compromises caused the building to lose 16 of its intended 40 storeys.

Strawscraper by Belatchew Arkitekter
Site plan

The new proposals would reintroduce the proportions first proposed by Larsen, adding a restaurant between the existing apartments and the new wind farm, as well as a viewing platform with panoramic views across Stockholm.

Strawscraper by Belatchew Arkitekter
Proposed section

Other unusual skyscraper proposals on Dezeen include designs for thatched towers in London and a concept for skyscrapers constructed from rubbish in São Paulo. See more conceptual architecture.

Here's some more information from Belatchew Arkitekter:

Strawscraper – an Urban Power Plant in Stockholm

Belatchew Arkitekter presents Strawscraper, the first project to come out of the newly established Belatchew Labs. Strawscraper is an extension of Söder Torn on Södermalm in Stockholm with a new energy producing shell covered in straws that can recover wind energy.

What was supposed to become a building of 40 flights became 26. Söder Torn on Södermalm in central Stockholm was finalised 1997, but the architect Henning Larsen had already left the contract after having lost influence over the design of the tower.

Belatchew Arkitekter wants to give Söder Torn its original proportions and at the same time explore new techniques that could create the urban wind farm of the future. By using piezoelectric technology a large number of thin straws can produce electricity merely through small movements generated by the wind. The result is a new kind of wind power plant that opens up possibilities of how buildings can produce energy. With the help of this technique surfaces on both old and new buildings can be transformed into energy producing entities.

Furthermore, an additional aspect is revealed when the constant movement of the straws creates an undulating landscape on the facades. What is usually considered to be the most static of all things, the building, suddenly comes alive and the construction gives the impression of a body that is breathing.

The straws swaying in the wind gives the building a constantly changing facade further reinforced at nighttime with lighting in changing colours.

The straws of the facade consist of a composite material with piezoelectric properties that can turn motion into electrical energy. Piezoelectricity is created when certain crystals' deformation is transformed into electricity. The technique has advantages when compared to traditional wind turbines since it is quite and does not disturb wildlife. It functions at low wind velocity since only a light breeze is sufficient for the straws to start swaying and generate energy.

The existing premise on top of the building is replaced with a public floor with room for a restaurant. The new extension creates, a part from the energy producing shell, room for the citizens with the possibility to reach a lookout platform at the very top of the tower with an unmatched view of Stockholm.

  • Luis Dias

    Very, very interesting. However, the idea that this will not produce sound at all is misleading. Those wires will hit each other and the tower itself, perhaps even violently, so I am really skeptical about the silent characteristic of it.

  • Colonel Pancake

    If I recall correctly my Mom keeps an 8″ study model of this building on her nightstand.

  • christine

    Very interesting idea. A continuation of (UN) Plug by Francois Roche (R&Sie)

    • Josh V

      I was going to say the same thing! Although if I remember correctly, the (UN) Plug Building made active use of the hairs by standing them on end or relaxing them to control the heating inside.

  • bwd

    Cute but would seem to require miles more wire than a conventional turbine, and be as comforting on windy evenings as a field of dead corn.

  • RJM

    It’s like a building wrapped in a Flokati rug! IF it generated electricity, I’d say it would be BRILLIANT!

  • justin

    Interesting idea but would these straws create a lot of noise? Would they slap against the glass in high winds? Break off and become projectiles?

  • blah

    I love the idea, and it looks really interesting, but how practical would it be? How often do the rods need replacing and what about maintenance issues? What are they made from? Can they be recycled? Etc etc.

    Is this an actual proposal?

  • michal

    Window cleaner’s nightmare.

  • future architect

    Don’t go there if you have a pace maker.

  • Luke

    The future of architecture will be soft and hairy.

  • juste

    Check out “Evolo Skyscrapers” book. A few years ago we did the same hairy wind-generating tower called “Pimp my skyscraper”, just it was more like a joke or a manifest, questioning the limits of fashion in architecture. Now we have got the answers :)

  • Julius Jääskeläinen

    Presenting novel ideas for clean energy without any numbers to back them does not help the movement for sustainability but undermines it by stealing attention from actually feasible ideas. That is, it is not harmless but in fact bad, in exactly the same way as quack medicine.

    Dezeen, if you care about the environment and the climate, please stop publishing this sort of drivel.

    • christine

      Is there really a movement for sustainable architecture? Do you need a membership and do you need to swear an oath? Are you telling us there is only one way to save the Earth and it is your way, and only your way to save the Earth from the apocalypse of bad taste?

  • sor perdida

    Interesting way of making some buzz while taking the basic Grasshopper tutorials.

  • v

    Just imagine all the crazy shadows cast on to the interior from the straws swinging back and forth. The shadow will make your eyes go blind. It’s like you will never put a light over a fan it will never be a good place to work in. Great idea but so many design flaws.