The Coase Theorem in Dallas: Build A Screen To Block Sunlight

November 19th, 2013

I previously blogged about a case from Dallas right out of Coase. An all-glass building is directing sunlight onto an adjacent sculpture garden, causing damage to the plants and art work. I use this story in class when I discuss nuisance and the Coase Theorem. When I ask students what a possible solution is, invariably someone suggests building a device of some sort to filter out the glass.

And the owners of the glass building have proposed just that. Gizmodo has a great writeup of the case:

They also hired a group of designers to study the feasibility of installing a gigantic shading system to block the rays, rather than fixing the problem at the source.

This month, the architects behind the project—a New York firm called REX, which built the (fantastic) Wyly Theater near the Nasher—presented their final proposal, dubbed Surya.

It looks complex, but the concept is actually very simple: The team looked at the annual path of the “death ray” and, based on its coordinates, created a huge shading system to block it as it changes. To lessen the presence of the shade, they also devised a series of umbrella-like devices that only open up when needed. So, for most of the year, these devices look like thin tubes strung up on a massive metal frame—which is better than an opaque surface… I guess?



This is like something Mr. Burns would design.

The “umbrellas” open up during different times of the day so as not to obstruct the views.


And they follow the sun’s path through the year.