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NBBJ creates 'shadowless' skyscraper concept for proposed UK development

A team of architects from the London branch of NBBJ used computer algorithms to generate a dual-tower design that maximizes sunlight reflections to eliminate the buildings' shadows. 

March 16, 2015 |
One of London’s new skyscrapers will be shadowless

The architects designed this particular concept as a potential pair of towers in Greenwich, England. Renderings courtesy NBBJ

To make sure surrounding, shorter buildings won’t be blocked by sunlight, architects in London’s NBBJ office have designed a scheme that will make tall towers reflect and diffuse sunlight.

But the human brain wasn’t alone in solving the shadow conundrum. Wired reports that the architects used a software called Rhinoceros, which allowed them to input various building requirements, and then used algorithms to generate designs that maximize the light reflected onto the ground. Multiple design options are then displayed for the architects.

“Some are bonkers,” Christian Coop, NBBJ’s Design Director, told Wired about the computer-generated designs. So after a basic design was produced, the architects needed to fine tune it and adjust the requirement.

The final design that was settled on is of a pair of highly reflective towers that are curved at the right places to bounce off light over the other tower’s shadow.



Because the light is diffused instead of projected away, it won’t be possible to fry an egg or melt plastic bags (and burn people).

“It’s definitely high time for this type of design to be baked into the building so it can play well with the environment,” Daniel Safarik, a spokesperson at the Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, told Wired. “It should be standard practice.”


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