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final review_solar-tower-plant

waking up the sleeping giant

the main idea is to lighten up the building and transform its appearance into a remarkable icon, a vivid landmark at the pireaus harbour, that represents the gate to modern Athens.
the sun always played a central role in ancient as well as modern greek culture. In the Greek mythology it was Helios, the god of the Sun, whose task was to drive the solar cart across the sky.
today modern technology has replaced the explanation, but the sun always was and still is driving the Greek and mediterranian climate.

this concept for Piraeus Tower‘s new facade is based on the sun‘s diurnal and annual path accross the sky, combining optimized illumination through light performing systems and shading
in order to save energy for cooling systems and artifical lighting. The concept does not only rely on passive shading devices, but on the active use of solar light and solar power.
the Piraeus Tower‘s new facade and its revitalized public accessibility will transform it into a bright shining symbol for the efficient use of solar energy.
not only by making use of quite a lot already well known concepts, but by literally visualizing the concept through its enlightened exterior, educating its visitors by astonishment.

the new facade of Piraeus Tower is activated to use the entire spectrum of solar power.
versatile like a gecko skin, there is one general element, implemented on a irregular grid, which is able to react differently to the local solar radiation,
depending on its precise position, function, and the sun‘s diurnal and annual angle.
the element geometry in particular,  is parametrically transformed in three solar power systems, such as redirectional light shelves, photovoltaic cells and parabolic reflectors.

parametric strategy

the main element is a simple twistet shape. a versatile vector is responsable for he exact geometry.
it changes its geometry depending on its function.

specifiction of solar-elements:
1. solar concentrating  paraboli- trough elements

2. solar collecting photovoltaic cells

3. redirecting light shelves

these elements are implamented on an irregular grid, which is deformed by attractor curves.

the designprocess is led by the appearance of the regular irregularity of a gecko skin, which is able to embed different functions and geometries in one uniform pattern.

1-6 describe the general design process.
attractor curves are disturbing the regular grid (1-3),
in which  the elements are implemented (3-6)

rhino-file, ghx-definition

plan 01, plan 02

nice modell(s)…

crystal mesh facade in singapore
WOHA and realities:united (Berlin)

might be interesting for all dealing with media facade, LED-elements and crystal effects,
not to forget the iconographic effect…
(view full article)

pic 1_mall in singapore
pic 2_close up facade
pic 3_realization
pic 4_computer generated study modell
pic 5_real study modell
pic 6_element mock up

and here is a film.

(c) pictures by Patrick Bingham-Hall, Tim Griffith and realities:united, from 10/05/19

tower plant_pin up

I continued working on the idea to use the tower and its exposed position to generate energy.
The horizontal graduation is based on its gradientes layering which comes up, from:

1. its geographical situation,
located in greek, directly next to the seashore

2. its geometry as a tower,
rising in the sky, low surrounding buildings, with a huge overhanging plinth

3. its different functions and usages inbetween the stories

At the moment my work is focused to fix the universal geometry proposition for one facade element. They will be transformed later, depending on theit exact position and function.
(see above)

It is a geometry based on 4 points which give the fram, and a vector, directing angle, width and distance.
to find the appropriate gird I suggest following strategy:
Going back to the gecko-skin pattern, I want to habve an irregular grid, reacting on my study above (layering, shadow, solar radiation impact)

in which I implement my element geometry.

general question_dealing with lists

After a lot of trying and failing…finally my question:

I worked out a geometry, which is based on 4 grid points and a vector, defining orientation and adjustment. gh-file

To adjust this element on my facade I tried to generate a grid in grasshopper, first regular by subdivision, range etc., and now I ended up, to set the points individually in Rhino by hand, to transform it manaully into grasshopper by setting multipe points on one fixed gh-point.

How can I adjust the 4-point-base-square on the grid?
To automize the adjustment, I have to sort out every (4th?) point to create 4 lists, which each of them form one joint of the base-sqare.
Which is the most elegant method, could somebody give me a hin, unfortunately I’m completely stuck…
(sort list, cull, flatten???)

gh-file, rhino grid-file

shadow study (qualitative research)

Thanks to nathaniel’s 3D-context model, I can judge the solar radiation on pireaus facade more detailed.

In ecotect I made visible the shadow which occurs during an entire day.
First of all you can see a compass card and the direction of the tower, which is a turned about 30°from north-south axis.
Red and blue you can see the maximal and the minimal sunpath-angle during a day.
Further you see the 3-dimensional daily sunpath with hours.
As the earth is orbiting around the sun in an eliptical orbit (and not the other way round) the sunposition at the exactly time, seen over a year, makes some kind of 8-shapes.

To concentrate research, I picked out the most important days of the annual orbit of the earth around the sun:

march 21st                                                                                 june 21st

sept 23rd dec 21st

march 21st
spring equinox.The theoretical sun path passes the equator. The duration of day and night is equal, that means, sun rises exactly in the Eeast and sets also in the West
june 21st
sun has reached its highest point , sun rises quite NE and sets NW
september 23rd
autumn equinox, day and night are the same, sunpath passes the equator in order to head southward
december 21st
Sun ist in th south, daily sunpath from SE to SW

Because of its about 30-degree-rotation, and the wide arange of annual solar angle all facades of pireaus tower are on some point of the year exposed to sun.
Of course, the south-facing directions will obtain the most solar energy, but as you can see in the summercapture of 21st june, one can discover a partly shadowed south-facing facade.

esquisse_response: tower plant

to continue the idea of a solar-collecting/-distributing and an energy-gernerating tower-facade, differentiated data has to be collected, to make up the parameters.

concerning interior conditions, I distiguish between 3-5 diffent layers:
(floor -01-04)
> public space, e.g. market hall, craftsmmen sales, arcades
- covered, open space
- light weight
- indirect, permanent illumination (because of all-day-long usage)
offices or ateliers
(floor 05-21)
> privat, working space, offices
- optimal working and light conditions
- 8.oo-8.oo p.m.
- interior, privat space
- connection to public space via roof-terrace above plinth
semi public/public use
(floor 22-23)
> galery, atelier, concert hall, performance stage, restaurant


the principal idea is to create a multifuntional facade.
the design should be made directly from wather data and exterior impacts.
the general idea is to make natural impacts such as solar radiation,
sun path, wind, rain and other natural occurences directly visible and readable.

midterm_gecko skin facade

a new facade for Pireaus Tower is a important project in athens harbor.
It could be seen, not only as a tourist attraction then much more as a shining landmark concerning current architectural discussion about
revitalization and restauration in therms of low carbon impact, responsability for our earth and climatic change.

idea and concept

finding a new appearance for Pireaus Tower with parametric computer devices is a unique opportunity to
transform climatic data directly into facade design. the idea is to make natural impacts such as solar radiation,
sun path, wind, rain and other natural occurences directly visible and readable.

guided by the the versatility and flexibility of geckos skin, the structure would be a diverse, flexible and adabtable skin, which allows to react athens clima.


the choise of materiality should support the general idea of the eco-friendly and nature consciousness concept.
nowadays a lot of studies concerning grey energy harvesting are set up. An exact study and a objective evaluation is indispensable.

view panel

cs_gecko_scaled skin


(C)2007 Matthijs Rouw /
(C)2007 Matthijs Rouw /

- some biological facts:
www.wikipedia.deGeckos are reptiles , exactly they’re belonging to the order of ‘Squamata’ which means ‘scaled reptile’ (snakes and lizards).
That means they have  horny scales or shields. One family of this suborders, named ‘Scleroglossa’ are the Geckos,  besides worm lizards, skinks and snakes.

Geckos are a quite old and long existing species. There are more than 500 different types. Geckos are very versatile and adaptable. That’s why they are spread all over the entire world, which leads to this incredible richness of different species, their skin colors and patterns.

Most of them are nocturnal, which could be seen by the form of their eyes and pupils. read more.

- Let’s have a closer look to the structure of the scaley pattern skin:

different scale,  rhythm and appearance is remarkable. For a first and simple parametrization for a transfer to grasshopper, I was working with a simple grid.

the idea was to create a pattern which allows because of the variing gometry to imply several different usages, for exemple: collecting and reflecting sunlight:

- in the context of project:

- build references:

Galerie Bischofberger
Uetikon am See, Zürich, Schweiz, 2008
Baier Bischofberger GmbH, Zürich


Schulhaus Steinmürli,
Dietikorn, Schweiz, 2006
Enzmann & Fischer, Zürich