Solar Strand | University of Buffalo


Hood Design was the first-place winner of the University at Buffalo Solar Park Competition: a linear landscape formation and DNA fingerprint. Together water and light merge, harnessing nature’s energy from sunlight and hydrological infiltration. The project’s 5000 panel PV array will power more than 700 student apartments at UB and is the centerpiece in the hybrid landscape. Its form, figuratively a fingerprint, highlights the campus’ goals and objectives for a sustainable future.

Solar Strand dispels the idea that power generation technologies, particularly for solar and even wind, need to be autonomous in our lives - that they need to be somewhere separate, out of sight, out of mind. This project suggests that these structures can be integrated in our lives. They can be beneficial, not only to a power company, but also beneficial to a neighborhood, a community. They can create a destination, an icon of efficiency on physical and psychological levels, and they don't have to be ugly. We don't have to be fearful that they will be distasteful.

The design’s logic is derived from the “strand” concept:
a linear landscape formation and DNA fingerprint

Design Process

1) Site Identification > 2) City-Wide Analysis > 3) Site-Specific Analysis > 4) Parametric Site Design > 5) Community Engagement > 6) Design Proposals

Design Tools

GIS (Citywide analysis) > Rhino > Grasshopper (Site specific analysis) > CNC routing >

Solar Strand Facts

• 3,200-panel Solar Strand is a work of public art and represents a unique partnership with the New York Power Authority and UB.
• Rated capacity to produce 750,000 watts of energy.
• 4313 Light Bulbs powered for a year.
• 13566 Trees planted.
• 542 Tons of carbon saved.
• Save more than $60,000 in electricity costs per year.
• Creation of green jobs locally.
• Conduct research of how much solar power can be generated in different weather conditions (sunny, rainy and snowy days).
• The array is a natural classroom where UB students and schoolchildren will learn about sustainability.
• Its approach moves beyond just obtaining carbon neutrality and lessening our environmental footprint, it welcomes students, faculty, staff and community members to campus through a connected cultural and natural landscape.

Media:  Environmental analysis, Parametric modeling, CNC routing, laser cutting and fabrication
Type: Landscape Design
Dimension: Institutional
Budget: 7 Million in unique partnership with the New York Power Authority
Proposal Location: University of Buffalo, NY
Project Manager: Shivang Patwa
Project Team: Hood Design

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