Congratulations to Team MHP, the winners of the inaugural Exciton Science Light Ideas design competition.
The winning design, titled ‘Flinders Street Urban Canopy’, explores the use of luminescent solar concentrators as a foliage-like canopy in various shades of green, drawing analogies to the process of photosynthesis.
The full winning design, created by Michael Ren, Hugo Marmara and Paul Lau, who are students and alumni of the University of Melbourne Design School, can be found here: https://excitonscience.com/flinders-street-urban-canopy.
Don’t agree with our expert judges? Cast your own vote in our People’s Choice competition. Check out the entries and vote for your favourite before 10am AEST on Friday 14 May: https://excitonscience.com/lightideas
About Light Ideas
Light Ideas is a design competition for tertiary students and recent graduates of architecture and design in Australia.
The competition challenged students to imagine a renewable energy future and suggest how a novel photovoltaic technology could be integrated into structures and buildings for the urban setting. The device of focus in 2021 was the luminescent solar concentrator (LSC), which is a transparent, plastic-like material that can be shaped, bent and contorted into various shapes, and is ‘doped’ with various coloured dyes. Aesthetically, an LSC resembles a fluorescent window.
How do LSCs work?
Exciton Science researchers Dr Wallace Wong (University of Melbourne) and Professor Tim Schmidt (UNSW) work to enhance the efficiency of LSCs with the aim of maximising their potential as a building-integrated photovoltaic technology. The LSCs trap incident sunlight on their surface and guide this light to the edges of the material. As a result, the light can exit the material’s edges, producing a bright glow and stunning visual effect, or it can be collected by silicon strips to convert energy into electricity.
What was the challenge?
Students were encouraged to think creatively about how the material could be used in structures and buildings in an urban setting, and challenged to manipulate and maximise the renewable energy potential and visual appeal of LSCs. Across two rounds, students received feedback from our researchers and consulting architects to help enhance their designs and ensure the material’s potential was fully realised.
Seven entries progressed to the second stage of the competition. Of particular note was the entry by Monash University’s Zachary Vassallo, who featured an LSC-based signage post in which the collected energy from the structure was used to project safety warnings along highway routes to signal bushfire safety, flooding and the presence of wild animals. Other entries saw existing structures such as bus stops, outdoor pavilions and train stations re-imaged to include spectacular fluorescent roofs and walls.
Remember, vote for your favourite here: https://excitonscience.com/lightideas