Urban Sun | Studio Roosegaarde | Architect of the Year Awards 2021

Studio Roosegaarde.: Winner of Architect of the Year Awards 2021. Inspired by the light of the sun, and backed by scientific research that proves a new, specific light can safely clean up to 99.9% of the coronavirus, Studio Roosegaarde launched the world’s first Urban Sun.

Daan Roosegaarde and his team of designers, external experts, and scientists challenged themselves to discover how the power of light can be used to combat viruses and therefore enhance our well-being. Research shows that though traditional 254nm UV light is harmful, the new far-UVC light with a wavelength of 222 nanometers can actually sanitize viruses safely. Urban Sun, a project in development by Studio Roosegaarde, shines a large circle of this far-UVC light into public spaces, cleaning those spaces of the coronavirus. It acts as an additional layer of protection to current government rules. Urban Sun aims to inspire hope. It combats the negative impact of social isolation by aiming to improve cultural gatherings, sporting events, public squares, and schoolyards.

Designing solutions
Studio Roosegaarde has been researching the power of light for many years. The self-funded Urban Sun was begun in 2019. The COVID19 pandemic made the project much more urgent. Urban Sun can be exhibited in any type of public space and serves as a call to action to governments and partners to speed-up and upscale applications

Urban Sun is created by Roosegaarde’s team, along with external experts and scientists from the Netherlands, the US, Japan, and Italy. The Urban Sun’s far-UVC light source is measured and calibrated by the Dutch National Metrology Institute VSL. Urban Sun meets the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) safety standards. The science behind Urban Sun is based on multiple peer-reviewed journal articles authored by scientists from Columbia University and Hiroshima University. The research shows that specific ultraviolet light (far-UVC) with the wavelength of 222nm can reduce the presence of viruses, including various strains of coronavirus and influenza, up to 99.9%. Even though traditional 254nm UV light is harmful, this specific light of 222nm is considered safe for both people and animals.*

Daan Roosegaarde: “Suddenly our world is filled with plastic barriers and distance stickers, our family reduced to pixels on a computer screen. Let’s be the architects of our new normal and create better places to meet and interact.”

Authorities about Urban Sun
Leading authorities are enthusiastic about the project and are describing it as hopeful, promising and full of courage:
– Carlo D’Alesio from MEG Science and Professor at Politecnico di Milano: “Virtual simulations indicate a positive impact of the Urban Sun in reduction of airborne coronaviruses in public spaces.“
– Matthew Hardwick PhD, President at ResInnova Laboratories, Washington D.C., who works with his team of virus experts and microbiologists: “Use of 222nm far-UVC in public space, as in Urban Sun, should prove to be both safe and effective.”
– Professor Karl Linden, award winning innovator in UV technologies and founding board member of the International Ultraviolet Association (IUVA), Colorado: “Urban Sun is inspiring. It will make enjoying public spaces safer and I look forward to visiting locations where this far-UVC sun is shining.” For more information please visit https://www.studioroosegaarde.net/project/urban-sun *Buonanno, M., Welch, D., Shuryak, I., & Brenner, D. J. (2020). Far-UVC light (222nm) efficiently and safely inactivates airborne human coronaviruses. Scientific Reports 10, 10285 (2020).

Project Details
Studio Roosegaarde

Project Name
Urban Sun

Daan Roosegaarde

Architect of the Year Awards Category
Urban Design

Project Location

Studio Roosegaarde


Photography ©Credit
©Studio Roosegaarde

Daan Roosegaarde

Dutch artist and innovator Daan Roosegaarde (1979) is a creative thinker and maker of social designs which explore the relation between people, technology and space. Roosegaarde has been driven by nature’s gifts such as light-emitting fireflies and jellyfishes since an early age. His fascination for nature and technology is reflected in his iconic designs such as Smart Highway, Waterlicht and Smog Free Project.

He founded Studio Roosegaarde in 2007, where he works with his team of designers and engineers towards a better future. Together they develop ‘Landscapes of the Future’ building smart sustainable prototypes for the cities of tomorrow.