The Butterfly Effect: an ultra-light web that generates energy and contributes to biodiversity

15 June 2021


The Butterfly Effect

As part of the Our Energy Our Landscape design challenge, a multidisciplinary team comprised of VenhoevenCS, DS landschapsarchitecten, and Studio Solarix developed a unique and innovative proposal that generates renewable energy while restoring natural connective routes for wildlife. The design for an ultra-light web over the motorway was created for the challenge location in the Netherlands, but it can easily be applied to other sites to become an important part of the sustainability of infrastructure and transport projects globally. This proposal offers a helping hand to small-scale ecosystems and in so doing contributes to a large-scale approach to climate change and biodiversity loss, hence The Butterfly Effect.

‘Thinking about generating sustainable energy within an existing landscape first requires a new mindset. We’re not only looking at capital in an economic sense but more broadly, in a way that values natural, human, infrastructural, and social capital.’ – Cecilia Gross – VenhoevenCS architecture+urbanism

Insects were chosen as the starting point of the design, as influencing the smallest scale can create the biggest impact. Building a treetop-level crossing for insects over the motorway can help to restore important natural connective routes. Besides, the ‘web over the motorway’ offers a huge surface area on which to generate renewable energy. The natural crossing also ensures that nitrogen and particulates are released into the soil closer to the motorway, which allows trees to grow there. Aside to these functional aspects, the eye-catching shadow patterns and variations in colours and materials also create a unique experience for the motorists passing under the crossing.

Curious? Find out more about this project via the pages below, watch the video or read the manifest.

Vision & Research: The Butterfly Effect: A Manifest
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