Solar Sculpting
IDC Foundation Award

For more than ten years, New York City has promoted energy efficiency policies—including PlaNYC and the Greener, Greater Buildings Plan—that will radically reshape the education of architects toward energy performance in buildings, reduction of emissions, and the efficient use of resources. This series of undergraduate research studios conducted at Pratt Institute School of Architecture, investigates the relationship between the building form and energy performance, using form-finding algorithms based on solar radiation to shape mid-rise housing typologies for New York City.

Funded by the Institute of Design and Construction Foundation from 2019-2021, the work explores the important environmental design opportunities that exist within building morphology, particularly in residential buildings that are responsible for most of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and power consumption. By integrating and extending current solar technologies such as photovoltaic (PV) and solar thermal (ST) for the predominantly vertical infrastructure of the city, this research targets innovative building mass and surface strategies that are highly energy efficient, generate on-site renewable energy and produces a new aesthetic towards a public climate consciousness. Additionally, solar driven design fosters distributed energy solutions and collective resources generating new ways of living and working in cities.

As part of the initiative, we have also formed an international exchange program between our two institutions, Pratt Institute and Politecnico di Milano, to share content and expertise. Directed and taught in collaboration with Simone Giostra along with the following research assistants: An-yi Cheng, Ben Erickson, Kevin Harris, Logan Smith, Abhi Thakkar.