Working in Vice’s Brooklyn roof garden must be like working in a beautiful wilderness. A wilderness with shade, desks, and plentiful power for gadgets, and with a view of the Williamsburg Bridge and Manhattan beyond, but a wilderness nonetheless.
design engineer Matthew Kovaleski Uhuru Design and Third Partners, the rooftop Solar Outpost puts simple workstations amongst the flowers and weeds of Vice’s roof. The wooden picnic tables are shaded by solar panels that are tilted to catch maximum sun. Those panels not only shade the workers below, but also provide from about 4 kilowatt-hours of electricity throughout the day. This is is enough to power a notebook for 12 hours, charge an iPad four times over, and give an iPhone 12 full charges. It does all this while running a couple of LED lights.
And this being Vice, things can keep going after dark. The wooden benches are filled with batteries to keep things running when there’s no sun.
The design isn’t just smart. It fits in with the surroundings too. The wood used for the construction is taken from an old water tower (though some might argue the metaphor of Vice taking parts of local architecture hits too close to home), and the stark industrial design mirrors the nearby rooftop architecture.
There’s something restful about taking your work up to the roof and enjoying off-grid power, although when a writer is on a deadline they probably won’t notice anything but the screen in front of them.