‘The Butterfly Effect’ – an ultra-light web over the highway

In the context of the Design Challenge ‘Our Energy Our Landscape’, Studio Solarix, together with VenhoevenCS and DS Landscape Architects, developed a surprising proposal! Watch ‘The Butterfly Effect’ in which generating clean energy in an inventive and beautiful way is central. In addition, it is combined with restoring connections in nature and limiting noise pollution.

The Design Challenge is organized by Kunstloc Brabant, Staatsbosbeheer and Het Groene Woud and responds to the fact that sustainability plays an increasingly important role in our Western society. Studio Solarix therefore designed “The Butterfly Effect” together with the multidisciplinary team of VenHoevenCS and DS Landschapsarchitecten.

The design is in fact an ultra-light web over the highway, but was not only designed for the challenge location on the A67 near the Strabrechtse heide; it can also be applied worldwide to infrastructure. The design strengthens local ecosystems on a small scale and also has an impact on a large-scale approach to climate change and biodiversity loss. In fact, this principle can be used with any road network.

The ‘little animals’ as a starting point
Samen met VenhoevenCS en DS Landschapsarchitecten hebben wij onze gezamenlijke expertise, gedrevenheid en creativiteit ingezet om een duurzame én haalbare duurzame toekomst neer te zetten. Het is voor de aanpak van klimaatverandering en biodiversiteitsverlies namelijk erg belangrijk om ook natuur inclusiviteit mee te nemen, want ‘alle kleine bee(s)tjes tellen mee’.

Small creatures such as insects are essential in nature. Did you know that 85% of our food depends on their pollination? A span over the highway at the height of the treetops helps in a safe crossing for these little critters. In this way we restore important connections in nature in our design.

‘A highway forms an enormous barrier in insect biotopes, the insects do not survive the vortices. Butterflies and other small creatures, for example, only dare to cross the highway when there is a traffic jam.’ – Maike van Stiphout – DS landschapsarchitecten

‘Two birds with one stone’
What makes our hearts beat even faster is the fact that the span over the road is an enormous surface from which clean energy can be generated, exactly in line with the sustainability vision of Studio Solarix. The lightweight honeycomb web can be filled with materials that generate solar energy. It is also modularly designed so that it can grow and evolve with technical innovations. By making double use of the space above the road, less landscape is also lost.

No solar panel fields that cause biodiversity loss, but a ‘web over the road’ that contributes to natural connections and the generation of clean energy.

“By participating in this design challenge and the creative collaboration, the importance of preserving biodiversity has become clearer to me. Where we as a company were mainly concerned with sustainability, aesthetics and circularity, biodiversity has now been added.” – Reinier Bosch – Studio Solarix

Natural Sound Barrier
In order to ensure that the natural connection remains central to the design, a simple but effective soundproofing has also been chosen. The designed span not only provides solar energy, but also that nitrogen and particulate matter end up in the soil. This enriches the soil along the road and allows trees to grow. Such a large strip of forest reduces the noise in the nature reserve behind it. In other words, a natural solution as a sound barrier.

Enchanting like a butterfly
At Studio Solarix we find it important that our sustainability solutions not only provide energy yields, but also look aesthetically pleasing. We therefore found this very important in the proposal of ‘The Butterfly Effect’.

The beautiful shadow patterns and variations in colors and materials therefore provide a special experience while driving. Just as you can be enchanted by the colors and patterns of a butterfly, this design is functional and has a beautiful design. The ‘web’ can become the epitome of how we should interact with nature and maintain connections instead of losing them.

‘This design provides an aesthetic experience that refers to insect wings, spiders and butterflies’ – Angèle Reinders – Professor of Design of Sustainable Energy Systems

All in all, ‘The Butterfly Effect’ provides an original and contemporary answer to the central question of the design challenge: “How can we make a soundproof design, in which energy generation is linked to the surrounding nature and also appeals to the imagination? Clean energy is generated with the span, the forest strip acts as a natural sound barrier and the entire design appeals to the imagination with the color variations and shadow dances. Just like the butterfly.

Would you like to know more about the design challenge ‘Our Energy, Our Landscape’? Check out the website of Kunstloc Brabant.


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