Solar Skywalks by Kuczia | World Design Awards 2020

Kuczia: Winner of World Design Awards 2020. World’s metropolises have a large number of pedestrian bridges traversing busy traffic arteries. They are often unattractive, downgrading the overall urban impression. Our idea of cladding the pedestrian bridges with aesthetic, power generating photovoltaic modules and transforming them into attractive city points is not only sustainable, but creates a sculptural diversity that becomes an eye-catcher in the cityscape.

This sustainable concept has been created for existing footbridges in Beijing but it is just as well to apply for any new structures in any site. With only one rectangular shape of PV panel, over 80 specific designs have been created for different urban areas of the city. The electricity harvested from the sun can be used on site for lighting, elevators or escalators. E-car and e-bike charging stations under the foot bridges utilize the locally generated solar energy directly on site.

The applied thin-film CIGS photovoltaic modules produce electricity under the most unfavorable weather and site conditions. They are lightweight and very resilient.

Two mockups built in Shanghai and Munich demonstrate the feasibility of the system, which enables the construction of effective and reliable structures even for different climate zones. Retrievable, prefabricated mounting systems are aesthetic and easy to assembly.

A design of a medium size footbridge with a medium density of panels – like “The Arches” – with its 10 rectangular portals can generate about 18,000 KWh of electricity per year. Since the electricity mix in China is very carbon-intensive, 0.7 kg CO2 per KWh of PV electricity could be saved, a total of 12,600 kg CO2.

If the electricity generated in this example would be used to operate charging stations for electric scooters (in China these are rather slow, small scooters need about 1 kWh for 100 m), the amount of electricity generated would be sufficient for a total distance of 1,800,000 km!


Firm: Kuczia
Architect: Peter Kuczia
Category: Urban Design Concept

Project Location: Beijing
Team: Peter Kuczia
Country: Germany
Photography ©Credit: Renderings nomadd+

Peter Kuczia is an educator and expert in ecological constructions with more than twenty years of experience. In 2008 he completed his Ph.D. dissertation on solar architecture in Germany. He is an author of ‘Educating Buildings – Learning Sustainability through Displayed Design’. He has been awarded multiple international prizes, including International Design Award (US), Iconic Award (DE), DNA Paris Design Awards (FR), LICC London Creative Competition (UK), German Design Award (DE), Green Good Design (US), a national nomination to the MIES VAN DER ROHE AWARD for European Architecture, and many others.

His work has been exhibited and published around the world. He is a jury member in international competitions and initiator and curator of the Design that Educates Awards