Perugia’s bold new roof

Modern sustainability meets the Etruscan underground

Editorial Staff
January 28, 2010

It looks like an explosion of bits of steel, but in reality it is a highly innovative, energy-producing canopy designed by some of the world's most acclaimed architects.


The Energy Roof is a product of Walking through the History, a research project at the University of Perugia, in collaboration with Switzerland's Coop Himmelb(l)au.


The architects recently presented a design for the Energy Roof, which will be installed between two historic buildings in Piazza Giacomo Matteotti, one of the city's central squares.


Powered by the wind and the sun, the Energy Roof will cover the entrance of a new underground exhibition space displaying Perugia's ancient Etruscan origins. Historical documents demonstrate the existence of an Etruscan city beneath Piazza Giacomo Matteotti, soon to be excavated and re-opened to the public.


Serving as the cover for the gallery's walkway, located on via Mazzini, the Energy Roof will generate clean, renewable energy for the gallery; the excess energy produced will be used to help power the city.


The roof consists of three layers: the top layer generates solar energy through transparent photovoltaic cells; the middle layer (also the structural layer) contains five wind turbines; the bottom layer is a combination of laminated glazing and translucent pneumatic cushions.


Coop Himmelb(l)au also designed the Cloud Roof in Riva del Garda (2013) and the art museum in Strongoli (2012). For more information, see


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