WINNER |  2023 Green Good Design Awards

Pvilion’s Community Garden Solar Pavilions for Community Gardens

Location: Brooklyn, New York, USA
Architects: Pvilion
Lead Architect: Todd Dalland
Client: WE STAY/Nos Quedamos, Inc.
Photographs courtesy of the architects

In collaboration with Nos Quedamos and its partners, Pvilion has designed and will soon build and install highly visible, south facing, free-standing, modular, self-sufficient solar pavilions in low shade areas of local community gardens, with rows of electrical outlets and USB outlets on countertops to charge cell phones, and other low voltage equipment. The electricity that powers the outlets will be harvested from sunlight by lightweight, flexible solar cells that are integrated into the fabric of the solar pavilions.

Educational solar dashboards will be built into the pavilions to provide information regarding how much power is currently available in the batteries, how much power is currently being generated by the solar panels and how much power is being drawn by the devices plugged in.

There will also be free, automatic wi-fi access. Routers will be built into the solar pavilions and powered by the solar energy harvested. Wi-fi access will be available on cell phones automatically with no password required.

The design also includes low-voltage LED lights powered by the solar energy harvested to be built into the solar pavilions, to provide lighting at night. There will also be decorative lighting available to make the fabric roofs glow like urban lanterns at night and change colors for different occasions. The solar pavilions will also feature sloped and guttered fabric roofs that will harvest rainwater, along with built-in spigots that will allow the water collected to be used for gardening to grow food and water the gardens. The rainwater will be stored in above grade tanks.

Overall, the solar pavilions will serve as shelter from the sun and rain for meetings, presentations, and performances. They are designed to be used as are multi-purpose outdoor rooms for community services, gallery shows, concerts, film screenings and other events.

Most importantly, the structures will be used as community resiliency hubs in the case of emergencies such as hurricanes, blackouts, and other disasters. Fabric walls will be added to provide additional weather protection. They will be anchored to the ground and can be relocated when need be.

About the Green Good Design Sustainability Awards:

“For 2023, Green GOOD DESIGN received hundreds of submissions from around the world. Members of The European Center’s International Advisory Committee—worldwide leaders in the design industry—served as the jury and selected over 180 new products, programs, people, environmental planning, and architecture as outstanding examples of Green Design.

The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies and The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design have joined forces on two continents to present an innovative and challenging new public program: GREEN GOOD DESIGN SUSTAINABILITY AWARDS.

GOOD DESIGN™ was founded in Chicago in 1950 by Eero Saarinen, Charles and Ray Eames, and Edgar Kaufmann, Jr. to promote and foster a greater public understanding and acceptance for Modern Design.

Now in turn and in 2023, GREEN GOOD DESIGN‘s goal is to bestow international recognition to those outstanding individuals, companies, organizations, governments, and institutions – together with their products, services, programs, ideas, and concepts-that have forwarded exceptional thinking and inspired greater progress toward a more healthier and more sustainable universe.” (This is an excerpt from their website. Click here to read more on the original site.)

To view the award listing, click here.


Solar Fabric Canopies

Flexible solar panels integrated into fabric are giving tenants a new outdoor amenity that generates its own power. Here’s how you can create next-generation amenity spaces with this new solar technology.

Buildings | Janelle Penny

A new solar technology combines flexible solar panels with fabric to create a canopy that generates electricity.

Solar fabric architecture, the result of combining fabric and solar cells, can be used to create canopies and other shaded gathering places where building occupants can relax while they recharge their devices.

“It’s a pretty basic concept – it’s a surface that’s getting hit by the sun all day and previously wasn’t creating electricity. Now it is,” explains Colin Touhey, CEO of Pvilion, a solar fabric manufacturer. “We’re taking areas that get hit by the sun, providing shading and putting solar cells on them to serve a multi-purpose.”


(Photo: Solar sails are an easy way to create an outdoor sitting area for charging devices, eating lunch, or having outdoor meetings with colleagues. Credit: Pvillion)

How Solar Fabric Works

A solar fabric installation starts with an idea. Facilities professionals who know they want an outdoor hangout space with flexible solar panels will work with manufacturers like Pvilion to customize the project to the conditions on the site. This will account for:

  • Where the site gets the most sun
  • Local code, including wind load requirements
  • How to engineer the structure so that the fabric won’t flap around in a storm

Once the project is designed, thin film solar panels are laminated to sturdy fabric that can handle outdoor conditions. The fabric is then mounted on a frame, pole or other structure. The solar-powered space can be grid-tied or grid-independent and typically generate 10-15W per square foot of panel, Touhey adds. Many structures can be erected in a few hours or less – most of the work is done ahead of time, with just structure-building and basic wiring required on-site.

“We just did a few installations in parks in Atlanta that are basically benches under a beautiful arching canopy that provides shade in the summer and rain protection, and there are USB ports and AC outlets there for you to charge your phone or work on your laptop,” Touhey says. “Outdoor canopies are a hot topic right now. At Google’s headquarters, we did some outdoor juice bars – a café juice bar but in an indoor-outdoor space where you’re protecting it, making it waterproof and providing shading.”

The solar fabric is also ideal for open parking lots that are exposed to the elements all day. Carports can use the flexible fabric or a more rigid panel solution to offset the electrical demand of parking lot lighting or charge electric vehicles.


(Photo: Capital Cascades Park in Tallahassee, FL, features a solar-powered pedestrian bridge that uses flexible solar fabric. The panels on the fabric power the park’s lighting. Credit: Pvillion)

What to Know About Solar Fabric Architecture

This application of flexible solar panels may be new, but the maintenance is the same as it’s always been. A simple semi-annual cleaning with soap and water will make sure the panels can harvest the maximum amount of energy from the sun. A good rule of thumb is to clean the panels whenever you need to clean the fabric.

“If the white is getting dirty, the panels are as well. They’re just not as visible,” says Touhey. “But the panels are still going to work – you just want them to look nice.”

Solar fabric installations often qualify for investment tax credits, adds Touhey, so any financial discussion around investing in this new solar technology should take incentives into consideration. Pvilion’s clients are typically already interested in adding a solar-powered amenity, but the federal incentives make it easier to justify the upfront cost.


(Photo: Solar fabric creates a shady spot for cars. The energy it harvests from the sun can power parking lot lighting or even partially charge the cars parked under it. Credit: Pvillion)

“If you’re looking to put a $10,000 architectural trellis on your rooftop, you’re going to write a check for $10,000 to your contractor. If you add a $12,000 solar trellis to your rooftop, you’re immediately eligible for the 30 percent Investment Tax Credit, accelerated depreciation and any state and local incentives,” explains Touhey. “Just by adding a little bit of solar, you’re reducing the installation cost. You’re making the thing you were already going to spend money on cheaper.”

Tenant amenities are rapidly becoming sought-after ways to attract new tenants and retain existing ones. Extras like powered outdoor workspaces and device-charging relaxation stations could be the thing that sets your facility apart from the competition. Investigate this new solar technology and see if a canopy laminated with solar cells is the right investment for you.

To read the full original article, click here.


Enjoying Super Shade

January – February 2022 // VOL 20 NO 1


Visitors to the New York Botanical Garden needed a place where they could seek shade, enjoy a beverage, and charge their mobile devices. To solve the garden’s need for accessible, sheltered outdoor seating, the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) and the Botanical Garden turned to Pvilion and their solar-powered shade canopies.


Pvilion was recently recognized for sustainable efforts by The Architecture MasterPrize for outstanding outdoor, sustainable, and overall product design. One of the company’s products – the Quad Pole Solar Sail – was installed in the Botanical Garden. This solution combines a fabric integrated with photovoltaic cells and a powder-coated steel frame. When erected in an area that receives sunlight, the solar sail can offer energy independent from the local electrical power grid. The structures also come with the option to tie into the local grid, either as a consumer or producer of electricity.

According to the manufacturer, “Eight solar canopies were designed, engineered and installed by Pvilion at the New York Botanical Garden, providing ample space to relax while staying socially distanced. As part of New York City’s emission reduction efforts, seven of the canopies contribute energy directly to the city’s power grid. One structure powers a bank of batteries used by the Garden and its visitors to charge their mobile phones and other devices.”

With the recent need to shift activity outside, Pvilion’s technology has become a necessary, quick, and reliable energy-efficient solution for shelter and energy. The structures in the Botanical Garden were erected by a handful of workers and operational within a matter of hours.

“The climate crisis is real and it is urgent, and that is why the City of New York is taking action to reduce carbon emissions and build a more sustainable future,” said Lisette Camilo, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services. It is only fitting that the New York Botanical Garden, a place known for its greenery, will be leading the way with green energy technologies.


Pvilion’s solar power canopy structures meet both short and long-term needs while avoiding the costs, environmental damage, and time associated with erecting and running permanent structures.

To view the full digital edition, click here.


This Wilderness Hotel Is Coming to Zion National Park Next Year — and We Got a Sneak Peek

Travel + Leisure  |  December 6, 2021

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Travel + Leisure — Utah’s Zion National Park is a wonder in itself, but this new retreat next door might just give the park a run for its money.

Covering 1,110 acres along the Clear Creek Mountains, just a mile from the edge of the park, Spirit is the newest luxury wilderness retreat to open in the Zion area. Its mission: to allow guests that stay in one of its 40 suites or homesteads to develop a relationship with the land through the guiding principles of preservation and sustainability.

“Having grown up locally and witnessed firsthand how unbounded commercialization and land division can spoil the natural tapestry of a community, the concept of conservation and the importance of protecting the inherent integrity of our environment was introduced to me early on and has been the guiding vision for Spirit,” Kevin McLaws, founder and partner of Zion Spirit Group, the property’s family-run owner and management company, said in a statement. “We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with this property to set a new standard for gateway communities, one that inspires guests to not only be a part of the land’s continued story, but to become equal stewards of it.”

Guests will stay in one- or two-bedroom Leaf Suites or five-bedroom Homestead Retreats, which provide more than 6,000 square feet of space; both types of accommodations were designed by Nomadic Resorts, a Dutch architecture firm that specializes in eco-friendly, luxurious lodgings for remote properties. The Leaf Suites are named for their innovative roofs by Brooklyn-based studio Pvilion, which do, in fact, resemble leaves — they’re covered in solar panels and photovoltaic fabric to provide energy for the structures.

To read the full article by Travel + Leisure, click here.


London Embassy Solar Facade

Pvilion is working with Kieran Timberlake, BLHI, Permasteelisa, and Birdair to make a design dream come alive. The creation, a solar powered facade membrane, will help the new US Embassy in London be a fully self sustaining, LEED Platinum achievement. 

Originally designed as close to 700 EFTE membrane structures acting as passive shading and PV energy production, these units will makeup the entire east, west, and south facades. Pvilion is now becoming one step closer to covering the world with fabric that produces its own electricity and beautifies its surroundings.

This project is still in the design/mockup phase, and will be finished by late 2015. For more information, please click here.

public safety

The Carol Roberts Field House Canopy at Yale University

The Carol Roberts Field House, design by KG&D Architects, is the locker room, training room, coach’s office, meeting space and observation deck for the women’s field hockey and softball teams. Pvilion provided design assist services to KG&D Architects for the Canopy and was the Contractor for the fabrication and installation of the Canopy.


2014 Solar Decathlon – Techstyle Haus

Pvilion was a Terrawatt Sponsor for this Solar Decathlon project, acting as a design consultant and visiting critic to the team of RISD, Brown University and Erfurt University faculty and students. The Techstyle Haus is the worlds first fabric Passivhaus – the 5kW solar array produces more energy than the home will use.  

Pvilion designed, fabricated and installed the photovoltaic membrane. 


Carnegie Hall Gala Tent

Imagine erecting a 5,000 square foot, elegant, and grand building for events in just a few hours. Using Pvilion’s high pressure air beam technology and design, this event product is the first of its kind, combining architectural design and high tech fabric work.

The Gala Event Structure has already hit the market in 2014, and will be sure to turn heads in the temporary event space. Set it up on a rooftop, in a field, or anywhere you can imagine, and this Gala Event Structure will blow your mind.


Solar Facade Module for Artists for Humanity

We engineered, fabricated, and will install a solar wrapper for the Artists for Humanity Epicenter in Boston, Massachusetts.

Our solar trellis wrapper will enhance the aesthetic of the building as well as harvest solar energy to power it.

Artists for Humanity (AFH) is a non-profit youth center for art, science, and enterprise. AFH’s mission is to bridge socio-economic divisions by employing talented and bright underserved high schoolers to provide creative and technical services to local businesses.

The wrapper is just one project in the Epicenter’s 52,000 square feet expansion, which will also make it the largest energy positive commercial facility on the East coast.