The design is a reflective hovering sphere, the winning entry in a competition proposed by the Stockholm Transport Association. It comes from the visionary engineering design firm BIG, along with Grontmij and Spacescape.
The underside of it serves a pedestrian purpose, according to Arch Daily: it mirrors a 180 degree view of a massive new multiple intersection for the drivers on their way in or out of the city where accidents have been frequent. Transportation innovation is not new to Sweden.
The top 30% of the sphere’s surface is covered with photovoltaics (presumably thin film?) always floating facing the sun. This produces enough energy to keep it floating – the way a hovercraft does – but higher – like an electric blimp? The solar on top of the gigantic mirrored sphere would produce 100% of the power it needs to stay up, and supply 235 nearby houses with electricity.
Like many countries in Europe, Sweden has been steadily working towards a twenty-first century vision of a renewable energy economy for some time, while the US seems to zig and zag with every election, increasingly bogged down in a quagmire.
It’s one thing to intellectually acknowledge the widening gulf between the US and the developed world that is leaving us behind. But it is another thing to feel it.
This design really makes me feel like a visitor from a couple of centuries behind, gazing in amazement at a futuristic society I no longer have any comprehension of. Jeez. Let’s hope we can change that.
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