Design with Solar Materials

The times when solar cells and modules were plain, dark-blue, rigid, and difficult to customize are long gone. In the last couple of years, the solar – or photovoltaic (PV) – field has experienced, thanks to scientific advancement and the introduction of new materials, both a technical and creative revitalization. Today, a variety of solar modules with unique colours, shapes, and patterns are available. Taking solar design one step further, it is possible to create new compositions by working with a manifold of solar material combinations that make solar modules adaptable, even foldable, and provide them with elegant matte, shiny, or see-through finishes. Architecture benefits from this as possibilities to enhance the aesthetic qualities of buildings’ facades increase while at the same time they can benefit from generating local renewable energy.


Photovoltaic modules are typically produced using a thermo-chemical lamination process. The solar cells and the conductive elements are encapsulated in an EVA (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate) layer. They are protected from humidity and mechanical influences by a front glass and a back sheet foil. Each layer can be adapted for design purposes: The front glass layer can be replaced with textured, printed, or coated glass or foils of different colours and transparency. This way, it is possible to alter or completely hide the solar cells’ otherwise rather technical appearance. Furthermore, as shown in this exhibition, PV cells today exist in multiple colours and shapes and can be cut depending on individual needs and requirements. Their placement and the density within the module represent an additional design possibility.


The context of this exhibition is the Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV) Workshop, organized by our chair at ETH Zurich, in March 2021. The hands-on exploratory workshop for Bachelor and Master students focused on using photovoltaics to create solar building materials, utilizing the new arising degrees of design freedom. After input lectures by leading researchers, practitioners, and industry, each participant became familiar with the material components of a photovoltaic module and simple tools to test and evaluate its performance. Additionally, in teams of two, participants built their prototypes, scaled up their design modules graphically, and applied them to existing building volumes.

General information
September 9, 2021 - October 29, 2021
09:00 - 18:00 hrs.
Zürich, Switzerland
Material Hub Baubibliothek, ETH Hönggerberg Stefano-​Franscini-Platz 5, 8093 Zürich Switzerland
ETH Zürich - Professorship for Architecture and Building Systems
The information and picture were extracted from the Official Website of the event.
Date: September 30, 2022 - February 25, 2022
Location: New York, New York, USA
Organizer: Center for Architecture
Date: September 30, 2022 - February 25, 2023
Location: New York, New York, USA
Organizer: Center for Architecture
Date: October 14, 2022
Location: London, UK
Organizer: The Architectural Association School of Architecture
Share your event
BAM Platform is aimed to provide useful help to architects and architecture students worldwide. We encourage Institutions and Organizers to send us their architecture events in order to create an international network that will improve its visibility.

Each event submited will be shared in our website and social media chanels after a review of our committee.
Start a new search
Please click on the filters to find the events that suit your interest
Upcoming Latest All

© BEST ARCHITECTURE MASTER’S Todos los derechos reservados | Nota legal | Política de cookies

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Find out more