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Carlo Ratti Associati — Sun&Shade — Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Carlo Ratti Associati and Dubai's Museum of the Future present Sun&Shade: a dynamic canopy that couples the cooling of outdoor areas with solar power generation, based on an array of mirrors that track the sun. Much like a sunflower, each mirror can move on a double axis and reflect the sun’s rays away from the ground — while the space below the canopy naturally cools down. Deviated rays, in turn, are concentrated on a photovoltaic receiver, located a safe distance away, that generates electric power.

Based on the sun’s location and on the user’s input, Sun&Shade can tilt mirrors to different degrees, allowing people to interact with sunlight in creative ways - from selecting the precise level of shading underneath, to composing dynamic drawings with light. Sun&Shade is part of Carlo Ratti Associati’s ongoing research into using digital technologies for climate adaptation. At a time when climate change is becoming increasingly pressing, Carlo Ratti Associati aims to explore how architecture can help its prevention and adaptation. Pictures by Pietro Leoni.

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