Solar Seesaw

Key principles

Biophilic design, Responsive scissor structures, Flexible photovoltaic CIGS solar cells, Climate responsive design, Environmental simulations, Kinetic Structure, Lightweight structure, Winning Entry Competition


Year: 2019
Country: Masdar, UAE
Client: Land Art Generator

The vernacular heritage of the Sahara and desert oasis resonates with the biodiversity that adapts and thrives in this harsh natural setting. Our design intervention echoes the vibrant communal activity that men and women long enjoyed in these natural oases.

The structures aligned across the promenade perform as kinetic & solar seesaws, inspired by the composition of palm trees, their foliage, structure and intricate organic patterns. The seesaws are built out of a series of biomimetic flexible photovoltaic CIGS solar cells in fin patterns that bloom as leaf fronds that naturally bend through laminated polymers. As in desert oases, the sum of these seesaws is a kinetic orchard that creates a morphing landscape that produces a pleasant outdoor microclimate.

Like a palm tree’s foliage, the kinetic foliage’s leaves perpetually collect solar energy, filter solar radiation and diffuse light rays. The subtle motion of the kinetic structures generates a gentle dance of shadows, a comforting experience that dwellers amid oases have historically enjoyed under the embrace of palm canopies.

Each kinetic seesaw module stands atop an interactive circular platform that responds to users’ weights. Depending on the latter’s accumulated weight, the circular platform sinks deeper, causing the photovoltaic leaves to lean down, creating a semi enclosed space with its own micro-climate that hugs and protects users within it.

The landscape Trail slithering through each seesaw is composed of energy generating tiles that power the project’s lighting, water fountains.