Cambridge University in England, home to some of the most exquisite and ancient buildings in the world...and now this.
These "solar trees" have just been installed to help power the Cambridge University Library's archive storage and will provide 10% of its energy needs. Surely the architects could have come up with something better?
Designed by Sadler Brown Architecture, apparently the tree designs were inspired by the windows of the original library buildings, which were created by Giles Gilbert Scott, the designer of the iconic red phone box.
The trees are the same height as a street light, about 5 metres high, and are constructed with a custom-made steel 'trunk' and 16 specially made mono-crystalline panels each uniquely fixed to the steel using a specially engineered silicone bond.
The four sets of trees, surrounding the extension of the library building, will supply 10% of the archive's needs. Given the number of them, it is unfortunate they couldn't have aimed higher and gotten more out of them.
The architects worked with photovoltaic experts EvoEnergy to develop the 4 sets of trees.
Its director said:
This project has really demonstrated how we can integrate new technology that is sympathetic to the requirements of listed buildings and our increasing need for clean energy.
More on Greenwash in Architecture
House Renovation is the Antithesis of Green
Green Roofs + Green Belts