Build A Skyscraper That Casts No Shadow? We Can Do That, Architects Say

Tall buildings can be beautiful, but the big gloomy shadows they cast can leave urban centers starved of sunlight.

Now a London-based architecture firm says it's hit upon a way around that problem. The firm devised a plan to build paired skyscrapers in such a way that sunlight reflected by one fills in the shadow of the other. Brilliant!

Though the shadow of the building that is reflecting sunlight would remain, calculations show that the concept would reduce the total amount of shade produced by the buildings by up to 60 percent, according to the NBBJ firm. And the shadow-erasing reflections work as the sun changes position during the day.

“The relationship between the sun and shadow is the relationship between the two buildings,” the firm's design director, Christian Coop, told Wired.

(Story continues below.) A computer simulation shows how light reflected from one skyscraper would eliminate the shadow cast by its neighbor.

Don't worry, the reflected light from one of the towers wouldn't be harmful to pedestrians (like a magnifying glass used to burn ants). Rather, the sunlight reflected by the building would be diffused and thus pose no threat to people or structures in the area.

London alone has about 250 new tall towers that are expected to be approved and/or constructed in the next few years. No surprise, then, that the concept is getting rave reviews.

Dr. Philip Oldfield, a University of Nottingham assistant professor of engineering who was not involved in the skyscrapers' design, told The Telegraph, "What’s great about the project is the focus on tall building form and shape, not only to look dramatic but to contribute to creating a comfortable space at ground level."