The city of Uppsala invited BIG to design a biomass cogeneration plant that would offset its peak energy loads throughout the fall, winter and spring as part of an international competition (ultimately won by Liljewall Arkitekter). Home to Scandinavia’s oldest university and landmark Uppsala cathedral, the plant proposal’s biggest challenge was to respect the city’s historic skyline.
Considering the project’s proposed seasonal use, BIG envisioned a dual-use power plant that transcends the public perception; in the summer months, the “crystalline” proposal was designed to transform into a venue for festivals during the peak of tourism.
The Diamond Dome deploys the science of geodesic and greenhouse architecture while creating a new hybrid of industrial and social space. Part power plant, part community space, Diamond Dome will turn into the cultural and social center of Uppsala in the summer, transforming back into a biomass heat and power plant for the winter, fall and spring.
Expanding on the precedent of repurposing industrial buildings for social purposes, Diamond Dome will create a new typology of hybrid space – becoming an educational and sustainable element of Uppsala’s urban infrastructure.
The plant’s geodesic design also utilises a minimal enclosure, clear colored photovoltaics and colored glass to reveal the thermal attributes of the structure. This is realised as a 100% transparent skin that reflects the amount of sun exposure on each facet, ranging from hot to cold.
Thermal exposure becomes architectural expression while allowing the community educational glimpses of what happens within. Uppsala’s Diamond Dome will be a fully functioning combined heat and power plant that also serves as a big public space for the social and cultural life of the city in the summer.
This feature is adopted from World Architecture.