Steel Structure Trivia: Solar in the City

Solar Canopy PresentationLast week, project team members of Chicago’s Solar Canopy, a Merit award winner in last year’s AISC IDEAS2 awards program, were presented with awards from AISC for excellence in steel-frame building design during a ceremony at the project site. The 11-ft-tall prototype structure, conceived by Carbon Day Automotive to promote sustainability initiatives in Chicago, consists of three tons of Architecturally Exposed Structural Steel (AESS) and is designed to harvest solar energy for use in powering electric/hybrid vehicles. Pictured (L-R): George Wendt and Ken Pecho, Chicago Metal Rolled Products (AISC Member); Michael Dimitroff, Chicago Park District; Gordon Gill and Robert Forest, Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture; Bob Sinn and Chris Erwin, Thornton Tomasetti; and Hal Emalfarb, Carbon Day Automotive. Photo: AISC

Trivia Question:

Owned by the Chicago Park District, the Solar Canopy was unveiled in a temporary location in Douglas Park as one of the focal points of the International Olympic Committee’s visit to the city. The structure found its permanent home in 2010 in what Chicago location?


The Solar Canopy was relocated in 2010 to Chicago’s Northerly Island, a 91-acre peninsula located just south of the Adler Planetarium and east of Soldier Field, and has been actively charging electric vehicles there ever since.

Congratulations to our sole trivia winner: Nathan Lang, senior project engineer with Merrill Iron & Steel, Inc. in Schofield, Wis. (an AISC member and AISC certified fabricator).

Chicago Metal Rolled Products (an AISC member) was the steel bender-roller for the project and provided a tour of their Chicago facility following the awards presentation. The left photo (click to enlarge) shows one of their machines used to bend steel pipe into compound curves, like the ones that create the Solar Canopy’s tree-like form. 

A detailed project description and additional photos of the Solar Canopy can be found in the 2013 IDEAS2 Awards article from the May 2013 issue of MSC.