Dragons show up everywhere in traditional Chinese culture. There are dragon robes and dragon boats; fengshui practitioners tell of dragons that nestle in the earth and influence the flow of energy. The Mandarin term for “lobster” is longxia (“dragon shrimp”), while “dinosaur” translates as konglong, “fearsome dragon.”
There’s nothing old-fashioned about the Chinese world’s latest dragon, though. Dramatic, beautiful, and innovative, this new dragon-shaped sports stadium in the southern Taiwanese city of Kaohsiung is the largest in Asia to be powered solely by sunlight.
When it comes to solar power projects, Kaohsiung is an excellent location.
The city receives an average of 5.6 hours of sunlight per day, which means that the 8,844 solar panels can not only light up the 50,000-seat structure during sporting events, but their power can be channeled to the surrounding area when the stadium’s unoccupied.
Electrical power is not the structure’s only “green” feature. Japanese architect Toyo Ito also incorporated permeable pavement, recycled materials, and strategic alignment to take advantage of wind and shade.
Fengshui principles came into play too, to help ensure that this gigantic dragon would function in beneficial ways.
Not surprisingly, such a beast is costly to feed. The stadium’s pioneering features called for more than the usual amount of testing and research, resulting in a price tag of $150 million.
Once it starts generating power, however, this imposing new dragon will begin earning that money back—and all without moving a muscle.
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