Sun Rock: MVRDV’s project for Taipower in Taiwan
MVRDV plans for Taiwanese energy company: MVRDV’s latest coup seems to be in the making in Changhua County, Taiwan. The Dutch architects is developing the so-called “Sun Rock” project for the state-owned energy company Taipower, that will house offices, a maintenance workshop, storage spaces, and a public gallery. The goal: a carbon-free future. Read more about the project here.
Maximise sun exposure
Dutch architecture group MVRDV recently unveiled their next project, the “Sun Rock” for Taiwan’s government-owned power company Taipower. The structure will by an important symbol for Taiwan’s goal of transitioning to green energy.
The Sun Rock will have 12,900 square metres. It will serve as an operation facility for Taipower, complete with offices, a maintenance workshop, storage spaces, and a public gallery. At the same time, the shape and the façade of the building will be a “built manifesto for Taipower’s carbon-free future”, being covered in at least 4,000 square metres of photovoltaic panels. This means that the building will be able to generate almost 1 million kWh of renewable energy per year, making it completely self-sufficient.
MVRDV’s project will be located in Changhua Coastal Industrial Park near Taichung. The storage and maintenance facility will have a dome-like structure to maximise sun exposure. At its heart, the building will have a Data Room with real-time display of information about Taipower’s operations and the amount of renewable energy generated.
The project is expected to be completed in 2024.
Sun Rock as a tool for energy production
“Of course, we aim to make all of our projects as sustainable as possible. Yet we see that projects can go beyond just being sustainable in themselves. This project has unique and fascinating potential. The user is an energy company, which has allowed us to do more than usual. We cladded the entire façade with photovoltaics, maximising the energy gains to make it not only self-sustainable for its own usage, but also allowing the building to become a tool of energy production, exporting electricity to the rest of the grid. This is achieved through a maximally efficient positioning of the panels. As a result, our design is completely data-driven. It’s always fun to see the results when you let analysis be the determining part of the design”, said MVRDV founding partner and Sun Rock project manager Winy Maas.
A data-driven approach to energy
Each PV panel of the building has a lot of calculations behind it, ensuring it will be placed for maximum sun exposure. The project’s focus on data is also visible in the atrium at the heart of the Sun Rock. A series of data displays and a gallery space on the first floor of the building will showcase Taipower’s foray into renewable energy. At the same time, views of the maintenance workshop will be available to visitors. This juxtaposition of utilitarian and gallery space will make the building a key project for the Taiwanese power company.
Apart from showcasing the potential of data and smart data analytics for renewable energy, the building houses a further gallery for exhibitions and a terrace at roof level under the shelter of the solar panel dome. Here, both visitors and Taipower employees can relax and even enjoy an array of trees planted on the terrace.
Harnessing sunlight with the Sun Rock
The project will chiefly be an operations facility for Taipower. The building will contain offices, a maintenance workshop, storage space for renewable energy and sustainability equipment. At the same time, it anticipates Taiwan’s planned transition to sustainable and green energy.
Therefore, the external features of the building, from its shape to its façade, are designed to generate solar energy as efficiently as possible, turning the building into a statement or manifesto for renewable energy, as well as into a powerful communication tool for Taipower.
On its southern side, Sun Rock slopes downwards to create a large surface directly facing the sun. The northern end of the dome also maximised exposure to the sun in the mornings and evenings. A series of meticulously planned pleats will support photovoltaic panels, as well as windows.
At least 4,000 square metres of PV panels will make the building self-sufficient. Considerations for an even larger PV panel area are underway, which would allow the Sun Rock to contribute up to 1.7 million kWh of renewable energy to grid each year.
Taipower’s path towards carbon-neutrality
Taipower is Taiwan’s biggest electricity provider. It is actively working on a low-carbon power transformation with the goal of reaching zero emissions by 2050 which requires large structural changes.
The company is supporting an energy structure transition by prioritising the development of renewable energy. This is in line with the government’s aims of expanding the use of renewable energies in Taiwan, increasing the capacity of natural gas power generation, reducing coal consumption and achieving a nuclear phase-out. By 2025, Taipower intends to increase the proportion of energy generated by natural gas to 50% and the proportion of renewable energy to 20%.
Other elements of this strategy include the development of alternative fuels with lower carbon emissions, such as biomass or hydrogen energy, as well as carbon capture technology.
In these efforts, digital transformation is key. The Sun Rock is one example of how digitalisation can help to improve energy supply through a smart operation and dispatch of energy. Real-time information and advanced data analytics will allow for an optimised, reliable use of renewable energy in Taiwan.
ArchDaily: MVRDV’s Sun Rock Project Is a Built Manifesto for Renewable Energy
CommonWealth Magazine: How can Taipower lead Taiwan into carbon neutrality?
World Architecture: CommonWealth MagazineMVRDV Designs Dome-Shaped “Sun Rock” As A Built Manifesto For Taipower’s Carbon-Free Future
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