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Heliotrop

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Imagine you lived in a rotating house that gathered energy from the sun as it turned. It's what we do as a planet, so it makes sense to do it with our homes too. Architect Rolf Disch has built the Heliotrop (from the Greek for 'turned towards the sun') on this very principle.

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The Heliotrop is a rotating solar building in Freiburg-Merzhausen, Germany, that houses a luxury home (Disch's since 1994) as well as office space. In order to make the most of the sun's power, the house turns on its central axle. In other words, you can move it to face the optimum direction for generating solar power. Windows on one side are triple glazed to capture heat during the winter. On the other side, they are insulated to keep it away in summer. On top of the house are solar vacuum tubes for heating water. In this way, the house actually produces more energy than it needs.

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Rolf Disch's goals are 'to save energy, to make use of solar power and thereby improve one´s quality of life.' The Heliotrop does this, combining it with striking architecture as well. In addition to generating power, the house's rotation offers a regular change in scenery to. RM

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Images: Rolf Disch

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