Sun, Sun, Sun, Here it Comes: Design Firm Proposes ‘No Shadow’ Skyscrapers for London

London is a city that is vibrant in every sense – it’s a city that never sleeps.

While the city is rich culturally, socially, historically, and is a proven economic powerhouse, it has one downfall: it’s a rather dreary looking place no matter the season. 

Those who live here always complain of the grey skies and the rain.

NBBJ/2015: NBBJ is proposing to construct skyscrapers that cast no shadow.NBBJ/2015: NBBJ is proposing to construct skyscrapers that cast no shadow.

And as this city only continues to grow there are 250 new skyscrapers planned for development. This has locals worried about being left in the shade, even on sunny days – although they do seem rare. That’s right, more new towers means less light.

However, a popular design firm has a brighter future in mind for Londoners.

NBBJ, with offices in London, New York City, and in major cities around the world, is proposing to construct skyscrapers that cast no shadow. Their plan, called the No Shadow project, is innovative in that it will ensure light is provided and hits the ground.

The proposed site for the first pair of skyscrapers is in Greenwich, not far from the Prime Meridian.

The company has created a unique algorithm which will reduce shadows down below by 60 percent.

NBBJ/2015: The proposed site for the first pair of skyscrapers is in Greenwich, not far from the Prime Meridian.NBBJ/2015: The proposed site for the first pair of skyscrapers is in Greenwich, not far from the Prime Meridian.

So how does it all work?

“The algorithm design is based on the law of reflection,” explains David Kosdruy, lead designer of the No Shadow project.

“Our façade has varying angles of façade panels that distribute light over a certain area at multiple times during the day. Based on that principle we developed a Computational Design Script, using Grasshopper, a genetic algorithm and in house python libraries that enabled us to find the optimal angles necessary to reduce the shadow in between the two towers at a desired time during the day," says Kosdruy.

He adds, “The information about the angles got fed back to a parametric geometry model that generates the building envelope. In the further refinement of the façade we also took more parameters into the optimization to maximize the views of the river from the upper floors for example.”

Christain Coop, lead director at NBBJ, indicates that “the form is optimized to follow the path of the sun… The northern building is somewhat taller than the southern building so it can actually gather the light and reflect it.”

While the No Shadow project is getting lots of attention, will it become a reality for London?

The city is innovative and many are anticipating the proposed project will be accepted by planning officials.

After all, London has always been a city ahead of its time while still remaining connected with its rich past.

And in the near future more skyscrapers will be constructed using NBBJ’s ground-breaking algorithm method.