The paradigm of sustainability and the increasing demand of nearly zero energy and plus energy buildings are rapidly transforming building skin technology from a passive barrier towards a sensible, active and adaptive interface. However innovation is not only technical or the ease with which something “just works”. The transfer of photovoltaics (PV) in solar buildings is a tangible “cause” of innovation in contemporary architecture and PV today is much more than a technical possibility: it is a new fundamental in building aesthetics, ethics and technology. Nevertheless BIPV is today still a niche market due to the fact that technological innovation in the building sector involves combined strengths to articulate collaboration between architecture and technical specialisms.
Lessons learned from the history of “technology in architecture” teaches that the transfer of new technologies in construction has a recurring process. The following examples show the evolution between design and technology, starting with the first relevant examples of integration in the early ’80 to the latest projects, where solar technology has become part of the architectural language.