MVRDV - The Sun Flower Islands

The Sun Flower Islands

The Sun Flower Islands

The design for “The Sun Flower Islands” – so named because of the islands’ flower-like shape when viewed from above and the ubiquitous use of solar energy throughout the masterplan – was a response to Malaysia’s proposal to create three new artificial islands on land which will be reclaimed to the south of Penang Island. Combining sustainable design principles with the latest in smart city technology, MVRDV’s masterplan focuses on minimising the project’s ecological impact, while enabling the continued economic growth of Penang.

The buildings on The Sun Flower Islands are unified by a “solar pergola”, a timber structure that supports photovoltaic panels to give the appearance of a continuous undulating surface across the islands. This structure is inspired by local Malaysian architecture, and is raised above the roofs of the building to allow for shaded and well-ventilated rooftop spaces; at the buildings’ edges, it overhangs to protect the streets below from tropical storms and direct sunlight. Beneath this solar pergola, the buildings adopt various shapes and heights, but always incorporate openings and access points to improve ventilation and deep facades to add solar shading, minimising the need to use air conditioning on the islands.

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