SASKATOON — Canadian artist Sarah Hall recently received an award for her design of the solar stained glass in the spire of the Cathedral of the Holy Family in Saskatoon.
The 2014 award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) recognizes the Lux Gloria solar art glass installation as a landmark design for its use of photovoltaic cells as part of its artistic expression.
“It is a technically challenging solution, which allows the beauty of the coloured glass to meld with the technology of energy generation,” commented the award jury. “The arrangement of photocells within the glass has a certain artful poetry to it.”
The solar glass art in the spire is entitled Lux Gloria, or light of glory, and through colour and design evokes the beauty of creation and the imagery of prairie skies — sunsets, sunrises and the northern lights. Within the array are 12 dichroic crosses, signifying the apostles. There is also a circle representing a prayer for unity. The design includes some 1000 solar cells embedded in the large south-facing windows, which collect an estimated 2500 killowatt hours of electricity annually.
The largest window is 37 feet high by 12 feet wide. Each window is divided into 18 panels — 54 in total — with each panel unique in size, shape and design.
“This project is a world first — a cathedral whose stained glass windows generate energy from sunlight, and provide a visible demonstration of stewardship,” notes a media statement from Sarah Hall Studios about the recent award.