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Cases em Movimento
Cases em Movimento

This Solar Home Shape-Shifts to Follow the Sun

Cases em Movimento
Cases em Movimento

You're probably aware of the fact that the sun doesn’t stay in one spot all day. This poses a problem for homes that rely on fixed solar panels for energy, which are only able to absorb the maximum amount of sunlight at certain times of day. Instead of just modifying solar panels to follow the sun, the Portugal-based team behind Casas em Movimento designed entire rotating homes.

As the solar house turns 180 degrees throughout the day, the structure’s photovoltaic hood gradually angles itself to ensure that it's always at the optimum angle for harnessing the sun’s rays. The project’s design was inspired by sunflowers, which employ a clever growth mechanism that allows them to follow the sun as it moves across the sky. According to the team, the house’s solar roof is capable of producing 25,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity a year—that’s five times the amount of energy that’s needed to power a home that size. Homeowners living in a building that efficient could possibly use the excess energy to fuel an electric car or even make a profit by selling it back to the main grid.

Casas em Movimento will start by targeting their structures at the high-end consumers with prices set at over $7000 per square meter. They hope to eventually bring the cost down low enough to make their designs accessible to a wider audience. And if you’re questioning the practicality of living in a shape-shifting house, they’ve got that covered—the rooms turn slowly to compensate for any movement on the outside. You can see an example of these homes in motion in the video below.

[h/t Inhabitat]

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Stones, Bones, and Wrecks
Buckingham Palace Was Built With Jurassic Fossils, Scientists Find
iStock
iStock

The UK's Buckingham Palace is a vestige from another era, and not just because it was built in the early 18th century. According to a new study, the limestone used to construct it is filled with the fossilized remains of microbes from the Jurassic period of 200 million years ago, as The Telegraph reports.

The palace is made of oolitic limestone, which consists of individual balls of carbonate sediment called ooids. The material is strong but lightweight, and is found worldwide. Jurassic oolite has been used to construct numerous famous buildings, from those in the British city of Bath to the Empire State Building and the Pentagon.

A new study from Australian National University published in Scientific Reports found that the spherical ooids in Buckingham Palace's walls are made up of layers and layers of mineralized microbes. Inspired by a mathematical model from the 1970s for predicting the growth of brain tumors, the researchers created a model that explains how ooids are created and predicts the factors that limit their ultimate size.

A hand holding a chunk of oolite limestone
Australian National University

They found that the mineralization of the microbes forms the central core of the ooid, and the layers of sediment that gather around that core feed those microbes until the nutrients can no longer reach the core from the outermost layer.

This contrasts with previous research on how ooids form, which hypothesized that they are the result of sediment gathered from rolling on the ocean floor. It also reshapes how we think about the buildings made out of oolitic limestone from this period. Next time you look up at the Empire State Building or Buckingham Palace, thank the ancient microbes.

[h/t The Telegraph]

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Ker Robertson, Getty Images
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architecture
5 Scrapped Designs for the World's Most Famous Buildings
Ker Robertson, Getty Images
Ker Robertson, Getty Images

When an architect gets commissioned to build a skyscraper or a memorial, they’re usually not the only applicant for the job. Other teams of designers submit their own ideas for how it should look, too, but these are eventually passed over in favor of the final design. This is the case for some of the world’s most recognizable landmarks—in an alternate world, the Arc de Triomphe might have been a three-story-tall elephant statue, and the Lincoln Memorial a step pyramid.

GoCompare, a comparison site for financial services, dug into these could-have-been designs for Alternate Architecture, an illustrated collection of scrapped designs for some of the most famous structures in the world, from Chicago's Tribune Tower to the Sydney Opera House.

Click through the interactive graphic below to explore rejected designs for all five landmarks.

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