Construction has started on the redesign of an energy storage tower by LAVA (Laboratory for Visionary Architects) for Stadtwerke Heidelberg (SWH) in Heidelberg, Germany. The updated facade of the 56-meter cylindrical tower and design of an adjacent park are part of an initiative to create a sculptural landmark and symbol of sustainable energy for the city. LAVA introduces a multi-layered facade that features 11,000 diamond shaped stainless-steel plates attached to a steel cable network that can rotate 45 degrees in the wind. According to the architects, a number of plates correlate to the number of households that will be beneficiaries of the energy. The geometries of the facade are inspired by forms found in nature. Mineral wool panels in hues of blue make up the insulating inner layer of the facade, illuminated at night by low-energy LED lights. The light also reflects the actions inside of the tower, signaling the filling up and emptying of the storage tank. Movement, light, and shadow control the appearance of the tower, evolving through seasons or time of day.
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