SunCentral, the folks who brought sunlight into the dark recesses of an abandoned Lower East Side warehouse in 2012 to show that the Low Line — a proposed leafy green park for Manhattan’s subterranean underbelly — would not only be possible but also pleasant, have announced they’ll be shedding some light in commercial and residential buildings throughout Japan. The California-based company has teamed with Tokyo UV technology corporation U-Vix, not only to expand to the Japanese market, but to merge their respective technological know-how to create UV super lights suitable for even growing produce indoors or sanitizing interiors.
Six SunCentral SunBeamers illuminating the 2012 warehouse-bound "Imagining the Low Line" exhibition with daylight from the outside. Photo by Janelle Zara
Unlike in days of yore (say, in the lives of ancient Rome patricians), a central courtyard to provide an entire building with natural light is hard to come by. What the existing SunCentral System does is collect and pipe actual, full-spectrum sunshine from anywhere on the exterior of a building up to 50 feet into the interior (or in the Low Line’s case, from above ground to below), displacing the use of electric lights and offering an overall more cheerful experience without any invasive modifications to the architecture. It makes use of the company’s SunBeamer product, a skylight that, using mirrors, tracks the movement of the sun continuously and concentrates light into specific areas within.
With U-Vix, the company plans to install its systems into multi-story commercial and residential buildings in Japan, where sustainable energy has been a priority since the destruction of the 2011 tsunami. As for the Low Line, it’s still in its fundraising stages.
SunBeamers on the roof...
... SunCentral System illuminating the office space floors below