On Top

This rooftop may have clear lines and bright light but it wastes valuable space and energy.

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The designer Ora Ito has a solution to this problem. On the roof of Cite Radieuse in Marseille, a high rise block by the famous French architect Le Corbusier (1887-1965) he has staged a new exhibition. It is called MAMO and opened on the roof in June 2013.

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Chemists have a different solution to the problem of the empty roof space. To make energy, their solar panels expose small crystals of pure silicon to sunlight. There, at a molecular level, photons from the sunlight that hit these crystals and give out enough energy to knock electrons off the outer silicon atoms.

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These freed electrons create a Potential Difference that makes an electrical current. Also, heat is released when the atoms are knocked off, and this can be used to warm water for the building below.

The artists tend to think inwardly about their own presence and reaction with the rooftop. The scientists look out at its features and find something to do with them.

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