Dezeen Magazine

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.