· August 2010

August 2010

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Jude D’Souza, Suprio Bhattacharjee, Vittal Sridharan, and Kush Patel
Designed for Site #2 in Abu Dhabi, between Saadiyat Island and Yas Island.
ETT Architects, Mumbai

Design Submission for the 2010 Land Art Generator Initiative Design Competition

Artist’s descriptive text:
On a barren expanse of unrelenting, stark landscape, the desert comes to life.

Sprouting from a sea of dunes, the Desert Blooms bring life, movement and colour in a joyous celebration of nature and her myriad possibilities. The giant Flowers gently follow the path of the sun, and settle down over the dunes for the night. The dunes shelter people and their activities, many of which help tend the Farm of Flowers and keep it thriving.

The Desert Blooms are a playground for a child, a garden for the city, and a source of useful energy for atleast 15000 homes across the country. As the Flowers follow the sun across the sky, they reaffirm Man’s place as part of the interconnected web of Nature, and gesture towards his duty and responsibility to live in harmony with Her.

The site selected for Desert Blooms is the one off the road between Yas Island and Saadiyat Island – chosen both for it simplicity and raw, abstract beauty.

The primary component of the Desert Blooms is a single Flower, that is a gas filled balloon that works as a solar concentrator device. Solar Concentrators in general, are heavy, ground mounted, mirror based systems that require to be situated on vast tracts of open, uninhabited lands (see Appendix 1). The Flower is based on a design of a solar concentrator that is light weight and non – disruptive, does not occupy much ground space, is low cost and modular. Built of gas filled polymer cells mounted onto a lightweight metallic frame, the lower surface of the cells is provided with an assymetric prismatic pattern to focus all incident radiation onto a solar receiver below (see Appendix 2 in conjunction with Sheet 3 for Working).

The balloon is tethered down and braced against wind pressure by cables and a central trio of pylons that also help maintain a fixed aspect between the balloon and the solar receiver at the base at all times. The same cables are controlled in length at the base to provide for solar tracking across the day, and across seasons. The balloons therefore move across the sky through the day, and a motorist driving by in the evening would see a totally different alignment of balloons from what s/he would have seen in the morning.

While the balloons do not need any particular form of base so long as it is rigid, the Desert Blooms develop on the idea of a base to its advantage. The Land Art Generator Project is seen as one that stimulates and draws people’s engagement as involved participants in the work, and not as passive spectators. The Dunescape at the base of the Flowers recalls the creations of the wind in the deserts deeper inland, and many are earth sheltered enclosures, containing within them places for people to inhabit temporarily in their experience of the Desert Blooms. The main energy required to run the complex is for the solar tracking by the balloons. Much of this energy is contributed by people exercising and playing within the dunes on machines that tap their energy to power the movement mechanisms of the Desert Blooms.

The Art / Energy project is thus brought around full circle, with its beneficiaries also acting as its caretakers!

In the evenings, as the sun sets, the Flowers drop down over the dunes, and through a low energy lighting system, breathe light through the night, keeping the place alive for various cultural and social events to take place within and among the dunes. Thus, the Desert Blooms art / generator project attempts to be more than an object for mere viewing, rather becoming a place for people to engage more fully with the installation.

The Dunescape is an inhabited terrain, protected from the harsher aspects of the desert climate by its earth covering. Within the dunes are primarily three functions – the control functions and administrative facilities for the Desert Blooms site, ‘human energy’ zones, and the ‘seed farms’.

Human Energy zones are gymnasiums and play facilities that visitors and regulars can take part in, their expended energy being captured to meet the ancillary energy needs of the Desert Blooms facility itself (see Appendix 3 for Energy Generation Calculations).

Seed Farms are workshops for manufacture of prototypes for the Flowers that may be purchased by visitors or ordered from across the globe. The Desert Blooms, through encouraging active public participation aims to spread its seeds across the world, with humans as its agents of pollination! With a little love and some luck, the Desert Blooms would soon find themselves tiptoeing into various exciting locations across the world …

Appendix 1
Concentrated Solar Power (that involves focusing of large areas of sunlight onto smaller areas for heating or power generation purposes) has been selected due to the relative low costs, and abundance of solar power over other renewable energy sources.

Two primary forms of Concentrated Solar Thermal systems currently in use are linear parabolic troughs and parabolic dishes, both involving reflective mirrors. These systems have certain disadvantages, that are overcome in the design of solar concentrator used for Desert Blooms. Being rigid, ground mounted systems, current technologies have a limitation on their practical size as an increase in size increases the cost of mirrors, and in addition, also the cost of the framing system that holds the mirrors in place. Secondly, because of increased weight due to larger sizes, the solar tracking mechanism also becomes impractical beyond a certain size. Being ground mounted, they cannot be effectively used for medium scale installations such as multistorey residential buildings and office complexes.

The primary differentiation between the system used for Desert Blooms and currently existing systems of Concentrated Solar Power is that unlike current systems, it concentrates solar radiation from ABOVE onto a Solar Receiver located BELOW, occupying minimum amount of ground area, and without the use of heavy and rigid supporting structure. Also, a large quantity of solar radiation is concentrated per unit as the size of an individual Concentrator is maximised.

Appendix 2
A single Flower of the Desert Blooms is made up of Inflatable Concentrator Cells (2) that have an upper surface made of transparent cast polymer (13), and a rigid and prismatic lower surface (14) and are filled with light gas such as hydrogen or helium. The Cells are mounted onto a lightweight metallic frame (3) to form a domical umbrella that allows all incident radiation that is parallel to its axis to be concentrated onto a set area at a fixed distance below, at which the Solar Receiver Assembly (5) is located. The Flower has an additional Inflated Ring (23) on its outer periphery for additional buoyancy. The solar position depending on the time of the day and the time of the year is fed to motors controlling the flywheels at the Cable Rolls and Control Motor Assembly (12) to either draw in a particular cable loop (25, 26 or 27), or release the same to rotate the Flower about the bottom pivot. A Heat Exchanger Coil (16) absorbs excess heat from the Cells which is then put to various ancillary uses.

Appendix 3
Total of 51 balloons within Desert Blooms site.
Total area of Balloons = 124500 sq.m.
Solar Incidence per square metre = 1KW
Collection Efficiency of Balloons = 90%
Conversion Efficiency of heat to electric energy= 50% (using Stirling Engines)

Hence, available electric energy per square metre of balloon = 0.45 KW
Total energy generated during approximately 8 hours of a day = 0.45KW X 124500 sq.m. = 56 MW
Over an 8 hour cycle, this works out to about 450 MWh
At an average consumption of 30KWh per household Desert Blooms generates energy sufficient to power 15000 households in the region.

low-res version PDF of submitted boards

Carlos Campos Yamila Zynda Aiub Architects
with team members: Ignacio Savid, Rafael Lorenzo, and Martin Dellatorre
Designed for Site #1 in Dubai, adjacent to Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary.

Design Submission for the 2010 Land Art Generator Initiative Design Competition
Fourth Place Mention from the Jury

Artist’s descriptive text:
Light and Wings
Choreographies in the Sky

Hundreds of light spheres on the sky of Dubai.
They fly in geometrical order.
Suddenly, they form a line, a cloud, a sphere, a cube.
They fly in organized patterns across the sky, like a flock.

They reach the ground, gently. Ready for interaction with people.
They go back to the sky, under a secret disposition, forming a column, dancing.
One summer day, under a warm sun, close to the ground, they provide unthought shadows, facilitating the casual promenades in the park.

Our installation is able to generate new, human, interactive emergencies.
To take a ride under the shadow of a transparent wing, to enjoy new urban and natural perspectives, to be fascinated in front of hipnotic conformations.

During the daytime, the wings collect solar energy, while producing refreshing shadows.
At night, they illuminate the park, with the glow of stars, or they rise up to the sky, creating a new constellation.

Light and Wings Work as an actual Icon, as a point of referente, as a new attractor for the inhabitant of the city.

There are some pre-designed conformations:

a. The shadow ceiling. A 100 x 100 m square of refreshing shadow flying on the park, open to contemplation.

b. Random shadows. Also close to the ground, the wings are diseminated all through the park, as an invitation to the promenade.

c. The Light Cube. Night installation, formed by a dense geometrical disposition of lights and wings.

d. The Lighting Pole. Night conformation, 300 meters high, the resultant shape of the vertical organization. A column of glowing spheres.

e. The Cloud. Randomly, during the day, or at night, the wings are disponed in the sky under the form of a cloud, transparent and blue during the daytime, shining lights at night.

Nevertheless, the possibility of recreation of new and amazing conformations, is endless. Depending on the wind conditions and weather, these robotized artifacts will be able to gently reach the people in the park, generatig nice human interaction.


The flying devices, or Wings, derived from Paraglider technology, are self-controllable. They capture the energy they need using the solar cells on the top of them, and store part of this energy in the spheres, to be finally used at night, to illuminate the park.

On the northern area of the park, close to the water, there will be a special device to receive the ¨tired¨ wings, once the wind is gone. There, they will wait until the next flight.

Wings will be provided with a GPS flight navigator, wind sensors, LED illumination devices, a solar energy panel, and accumulators of electric energy. Each wing is an autonomous artifact, nevertheless its behavior is interactive.

The wings will regulate the distances they have to keep among themselves, the speed during the flight, the angle against the wind, altitude, etc.

Choreographies in the Sky.

The Hipnotic dispositions, as actual dynamic choreographies, will be Developed according to interactive flying patterns. These patterns will depend on the weather conditions, a random contidion, and an interactive condition between wings, and a human interaction condition as well.

If a pedestrian, or a group of visitors enters the park, the installation will ¨notice¨ it. Information about how many visitors are in the park will also regulate the flying patterns, proximity and interaction with people.

While the park is empty, our installation will move up, taking the shape of a skyscraper or a cloud, ready to be seen from the city.

Where to go? Which conformation to express? When to change? All decisions will be generated by the installation itself, not depending on ¨brains¨or ¨masters¨.

Our installation shows a high degree of self-organization. It generates interaction within the scale of the city, and with the pedestrian visitor as well.

Each visit to the park will be different, each vision from the city, new.

low-res version PDF of submitted boards

Joanna Wlaszyn, Qian Xu, and David Verrier
Designed for Site #2 in Abu Dhabi, between Saadiyat Island and Yas Island.

Joanna Wlaszyn is an independent architect, designer and researcher living and working in Paris.

Design Submission for the 2010 Land Art Generator Initiative Design Competition

Artist’s descriptive text:
The s: flow project is an active land art installation which creates a flow of visible interactions between environment, technology and phenomena of sunlight reflections. At the same time the installation questions the visual dimension of distance and length perception. s: means here: sun, sunlight, solar, sunshade, see, sky and sand. While moving along the installation, the sun reflections on the glass continuously change and create the flow of sunlight motion. Each time of the day the installation takes a whole new appearance in a permanent dialogue between light and shadow, nature and technology, and especially between man and his environment. This dialogue can be only completed by the viewers – in the way that the viewer becomes an integral part of the installation. The volume of the project is more or less visible and imposing according to the sun movement. Such a perceptual discharge of the environment is accentuated by the contrast between the blueness of the sky and the reflective sand. s: flow composes a harmony with the environment and provides a path to be followed like an invitation to the silent walk in this environment almost empty and mostly devoid of vegetation.

The shape of the installation is a simple deformation of a straight line into a spline. The spline follows the natural shape of the area’s edge: the borderline between sea and land. The form of s: flow is composed of a reflective glass which provides a vast surface for solar energy. By using material properties of glass like reflecting sunlight spectrum s: flow becomes a source of solar energy production. To keep a good transparent effect of glass, the structure of installation is made of a light supporting metal load-bearing structure as a reliable system. This construction material adopts recycle and environment protection materials. Energy captured from sunlight and its reflections on sand is transformed into electrical power by Spherical Micro Solar Cells: Sphelar. Sphelar cells optimize the use of reflected and indirect light. There is no hidden side : both sides generate electricity wherever the light source is located. Sphelar provides up to 80% high transparency possibility. Actuating cables placed in the metal structure transmit the energy to be transformed into electrical power through the grid connection cables placed in the ground. To respect the existing natural condition, the boundaries between public and restricted areas will be indicated by the invisible sound alarm system placed on the ground. The only platform to visit the installation is made by the footprints of the visitors and by the consideration of their sensibility to surroundings protection.

low-res version PDF of submitted boards


John Macnab + Peter Wuensch and Rachel Caroline Derrah with Breakhouse Inc. + Jonathan Mckeever + Emanuel Jannasch + Sue Sirrs with Outside! Planning and Design Studio
Designed for Site #1 in Dubai, adjacent to Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary.

Design Submission for the 2010 Land Art Generator Initiative Design Competition

Artist’s descriptive text:
1. The Challenge

Wind energy is an abundant source of benign energy, but conventional turbines are proving troublesome both ecologically and aesthetically. Ecology and aesthetics are not disconnected, and we believe that ways of extracting energy from the wind that are in closer concord with animal life will inevitably be more appealing to humans.

Energy Concept
Wind energy is captured by a flight of reciprocating airfoils driving reciprocating pumps. Accumulated fluid pressure is released as required to perform mechanical work locally, or perhaps to generate electricity for transmission. Site specific work might include irrigation, water pumping or desaliniztion.

High speed rotation is lethal to creatures in the air and unsettling to humans on the ground. Accumulating energy as hydraulic pressure allows us to reduce wing velocities. Organic mechanisms are not rotational but reciprocating. We find that reciprocating pumps can use heart-like bellows and flaps instead of discrete moving parts subject to friction and contamination. Driving pump-beats directly from wing-beats simplifies the device technically and animates it aesthetically.

Artifacts and ideas are not unnatural, they are a component of nature, extensions of the same energy and information processes that we recognize as organisms and ecosystems. We are not externalizing nature and then imitating it. With this project we wish to demonstrate that we are one branch of nature learning to live in a healthier exchange with others.

State of the Art
The suitability of reciprocating wind machines has been studied by Dr. Simon Farthing and his oscillating single wing pump (econologica.org) . The concepts are, by choice or time, in the public domain. Searches show our own bilateral system to be novel in design although we are not protecting it at present. Our small scale (and therefore higher speed) proof-of-concept prototype can be seen here:

Concept is scalable extendable to the aspirations of the larger project.


Of Material
The key to our proposal technically and aesthetically are the wings, which we will make from aviation salvage. As the wings work on the upbeat as well as the downbeat, we will use symmetrical foils such as rudders and elevators. We are combing the world of high-tech salvage yards for more parts that are as beautifully made and as suited to their purpose.

Of Energy
Sophisticated elements such as airplane parts are tragically worthless as scrap, because their value lies in their very lightness. In reusing highly manufactured parts without reducing them to simple materials, we are not only using the material, but saving the energy embodied throughout their many stages of making.

Of Ideas
In re-deploying a highly crafted artifact, we are preserving not only embodied matter and energy, but embodied ideas, calculations, techniques, inventions, all the information that nature has processed through us and through them. Not only as a static record but as HUMOUS *, participating dynamically in the world.

Of course, many components will be created “new”. Our policy will be to use the highest order of material appropriate to the situation; whether prepared by “nature” such as plant fibres and gums or refined and composed by “artificial” means.

* HUMOUS’08, the First International Conference on Humans Operating Unmanned systems was held in Brest, France, 3-4 Sept. 2008.


as social creatures we pool our resources. Energy is stored in the lower grade form of pressure, and is only converted to higher grade forms, such as turbine generated electricity, when and as needed.

microscopic wood grain
This capitalizes on the available structural cavities and avoids ecological cost of batteries. Storage is not in a single accumulator subject to catastrophic failure, but throughout the structural mesh of tubes, and protected at each joint by a simple reed valves.
branching pattern from Peter Stevens or Vein-Artery drawing

This is a recirculating system operating through complementary dendritic systems of “veins” and “arteries”. Diameters and angles will vary in response to flows.

insect or lobster elbow
hinges are based on flexibility rather than friction.

systole and diastole are achieved without discrete moving parts.


The Sky
Our flock of waterbirds draws an uplifted curve against the horizon, and a gentle curve across the prevailing winds. Just as this compound curvature minimizes turbulent interference even at the rare times when the wind blows along the formation, it also provides an ever changing perspective as we pass around under and over it.

The Air
Initial consultation with the retired Director and Biologist/Consultant David Kerr at Algonquin Power and Utilities Corporation a leading Canadian renewable energy Company, confirms our intuition that our low velocity airfoils will be a much friendlier participant in avian and mammalian airspace than the standard industrial impeller has turned out to be and that the project as it stands should be compatible with wild bird populations around the world. We are currently discussing the design with Donald E. Harron B.sc. , P.Biol., R.P.Bio. a lead Scientist in wind farms EA., as recommended by Algonquin Power.

We creatures evolved in an context of rushing and whispering noise, against which pure tones were articulated by birds, bugs, beasts, and humans into call and song. Machines have intruded on this acoustic structure by introducing pure tones as mere garbage, the wasteful, tuned, vibrations of steady-speed action. This has become one of the main drawbacks of rotary wind machines. The wings of our water-birds are continuously accelerating and decelerating and will not be able to produce generate consistent frequencies. The collective beating of the flock will always be out of phase and out of pitch with one another, creating the kind of background against which life and thought have flourished.

The Earth
Our participation in a “wilderness” is not seen as an intrusion to be minimized but as an enrichment to be orchestrated. This principle will pervade all our activity on site. The masts are the most significant development of topography, and we will develop their microclimatic potential at several scales.

Nest and Trellis
The pylons of industrial wind-generators are thin, circular monoliths minimizing the wind shadow cast on the impeller. Our water birds never fly behind the mast, which may therefore be built with less material under lower stress as a lattice structure. This will be detailed to extend the biome both of plant and animals, inhabiting a different wind-niche. As in a tree, tubular grain is used structurally structure will be used for conduction of fluid.

Trunk and Root
The highly stressed conventional pylon requires a massive foundation and disruptive excavation. By matching width to bending moments, the lattice tower reduces stresses, and connects to the ground through several small and dispersed anchor points. Structural roots become fluid conduits between masts, and so serve as pressure accumulators. Shallow excavation can be an opportunity to invigorate soil strata.

low-res version PDF of submitted boards

Predock Frane Architects:
Hadrian Predock, John Frane, Principals
Chris Schoeneck, Johanna Beuscher, Heinrich Huber, Design Team

Designed for Site #3 in Abu Dhabi, near Masdar City.

Design Submission for the 2010 Land Art Generator Initiative Design Competition
Third Place Mention from the Jury

Artist’s descriptive text:
SOLARIS – Predock + Frane

Critically engaging the emerging Abu Dhabi context of Masdar City, Zayed University and other tabula rasa territories, our project proposes an antidote and refuge to the frenetic future-scape internationalism of the rapidly developing Arabian coast. In proposing a new abstract art space that allows for escape and contemplation our project positions itself as a hybrid landscape/environmental machine that can both deliver power and engage the radical phenomenon of the desert. Along a path connecting Masdar City to Zayed University, a low-slung, energy producing sensitive field beckons public engagement.

Our proposal for the Land Art Generator Initiative on the Masdar adjacent site is conceived as a sensitive draping tissue whose shape responds to the local natural forces of the Arabian Desert, while simultaneously acting as a phenomenological instrument that engages and reveals the power and subtlety of desert light and surface. Like the woven hair of a Bedouin “black tent”, a field of intelligent solar modules form a veil that covers the entire site. Sometimes acting as landscape, sometimes as spatial enclosure, the solar units undulate across the site forming a deeply considered pattern of responses to wind, sun, night sky and pathways. Mirroring the blanket of reflective modules, the geometrically patterned ground plane of sand and water further defines the site and engages in specific environmental response.

Seeking analogs specific to the Arabian Desert, our project conceptually weaves together behavioral traits of the desert ecology into our designed fabric. Research into both the human constructed and the naturally occuring yields a wide and deep field of understanding. The nomadic Bedouins (who perceive themselves as the original Arab tent dwellers) have an intimate relationship with both the landscape and their herds of goats. Like a magic carpet, their performative tent dwellings are highly responsive and adaptive to the desert extremities. Made from the hair of their sustenance, the black matted surfaces of their tents act as environmental modulators. Under different climatic conditions, the porosity of the woven hair either opens or closes. In the desert landscape, the formation of dunes demonstrates a “power by numbers” dance between particles of sand and wind where accumulated quantity achieves an overall coherent quality. The dunes are dynamic organisms that never have a fixed form and travel in packs as mobile landscapes.

Our project behaves in ways similar to both the Bedouin tent and the sand dune, actively deploying a simple module (Cool Earth solar balloon) in quantities that allow for a range of specific behaviors. As an analogous “black tent” operating on an enormous scale, our proposal finds its morphology by synthesizing together both energy optimization, environmental behaviors and atmospheric effects. Beginning with a field of Cool Earth inflatable solar units on a grid oriented to the ideal solar angle (South), the basic carpet of modules is pulled off the ground to a crescendo in the middle of the site targeting on the North Star – Polaris, the ultimate point of orientation within a landscape free of points of reference. Developing localized environmental responses, the field of solar units densifies in areas to keep Summer sun out while creating a more porous pattern where Southern Winter sun is allowed to penetrate the interior. Winds – both good and bad – are mitigated as well. The Shamal brings dry wind that lasts the year round and supplies a powerful cooling agent when funneled correctly. This wind conditions the Northwestern side of the project forming an undulating edge that directs air across shallow pools of groundwater toward the interior realm. The Sharqi, which is a hot humid Summer wind, is blocked along the Southeastern edge of the site with shaped sand acting as a land barrier and deflector. These responses in coordination with each other form a sensitive, responsive tissue.

Phenomenologically, the project seeks a larger engagement with time, revealing and engaging light and matter – a sensate realm where one is allowed to simply feel and experience the slowness and power of the desert. In this regard, the field of modules acts as a surrogate reflective sky with heightened adjustments toward specific views. It also creates a pattern of dappled light that emanates from the environmentally induced responses. The underside of the solar modules are a reflective black sheen that mirrors the surface of the patterned ground matrix of water and sand, drawing heat up and out of the interior volume.

A tunneling path that stems from vital transportation hubs, links Masdar City across our site to Zayed University. Entering from Masdar, one descends into the ground within an orchard of date palms, tunnels through the earth inside a ribbed body, and emerges within the abstracted interior volume. The ground plane is a geometricized patchwork of sculpted dunes and excavated pools of groundwater. The sand of the ground is evenly cut and filled throughout the site, creating a large berm along the Southeast edge combating the harsh Sharqi wind. This artificially natural groundscape merges with the canopy of solar modules along the perimeter of the site forming a unified solar landscape.

Power Generation

Working collaboratively with Cool Earth, producers of a new breed of high concentration solar modules, our project deploys an ingenious new breed of solar technology. Eliminating the metal content and material weight of traditional flat solar panels with air and recyclable plastics, the Cool Earth module takes into consideration the Cradle to Cradle carbon footprint thinking of the entire lifecycle. Using inexpensive and free materials, the balloon-like solar unit makes cost and efficiency its modus operandi. A curved, mirrored, mylar surface is designed to concentrate the sun’s rays of energy onto a cell of highly efficient photovoltaic material. The concentrated cell produces around 300-400 times the energy than that of a conventional cell. With close to 25,000 solar cells the Solar Canopy will produce on average 73,000 megawatt-hours per year – enough to power the country of Chad for a year. The soft curvaceous underbelly of the combined units makes for a sensuous undulating surface that contains the indoor-outdoor spaces below. Structurally, a mast and cable system like a tent will create a tensile cable net that the solar units are suspended within. Like a field of sunflowers the Cool Earth units will track the sun angle, optimizing energy gain.

While the power generation is largely to benefit that which exists beyond our site, part of the energy produced is reserved for the benefit of the artwork. Hardworking and absorptive during the day, at night, a slow and unfolding wash of delicate colored light contrasts with the starry heavens across the canopy underside.

low-res version PDF of submitted boards

Tags: ,

Lateral Office (Toronto) + Paisajes Emergentes (Medellín)
Designed for Site #2 in Abu Dhabi, between Saadiyat Island and Yas Island.

Lateral Office: Mason White, Lola Sheppard, Matthew Spremulli, and Fei-Ling Tseng
Paisajes Emergentes: Luis Callejas, Sebastián Mejia, Edgar mazo, Alexander Laing

Design Submission for the 2010 Land Art Generator Initiative Design Competition

Artist’s descriptive text:
LAGI: WeatherField

WeatherField is a shape-shifting energy generation park along a strip of sandy beach in Abu Dhabi between Yas and Saadiyat Islands. The park is an open public space and is capable of harvesting the abundant renewable energy resource of wind within the Middle East context. The public park offers a variety of ways to engage with climate and renewable energy, as an economic sponsor, as a visual or physical experience, and as information.

Unlike current renewable energy fields where technologies are publicly inaccessible, static, and always on, WeatherField offers a range of public engagement dependent upon wind, sun, and moisture. Energy generation becomes a public performance, dynamic, reactive, and interactive. The park is active when weather events are active, and calm when weather is calm, in each instance offering the public compatible experiences.

A. What is a 21st Century Energy Landscape?

Weather = Energy
The park is organized and designed to respond efficiently and creatively to climate. The intention is that the park serve as a barometer of regional weather events. WeatherField is simultaneously a public space, a dynamic energy icon, and a public weather service. The field is a registration of daily weather events including weather events such as Shamals winds, dense fog, and sandstorms, among others.

The Yas Island energy park is comprised of a field of 200 “Para-kites,” each is equipped with a base station of two flexible posts. Except for the posts that tether the para-kites, the ground and aquatic ecology is undisturbed. The para-kites use a parafoil system to remain aloft and a Windbelt™ system to harvest “flutter” energy from the wind.

At the Yas Island test site, the 200 para-kites extend across the site in a 60 meter grid that marks the tide levels. Each para-kite is capable of 6,220 kwh annually. Preliminary calculations generate approximately 21.6 kwh/month for each cell of the para-kite. With 24 cells per para-kite, that yields 518.4 kwh/month for each para-kite. Across the WeatherField, we calculate 1.24 GW annually, or about 620 energy-efficient homes. Or, more colloquially, each para-kite is able to power three homes for a year.

Experience and Economics
WeatherField patterns form in response to maximize performance in various weather events. These geometries are artful, as in sky-writing kite festivals, but also efficient and engineered.

WeatherField offers three kinds of public experience:

1) From a residential home, a sponsoring resident may have free electricity and a free view of the Gulf.
2) On the park’s site, a visitor may have the view using an embedded ‘periscope’ in each post.
3) An adventurous visitor may be harnessed to a para-kite to witness the view first-hand.

As a park, visitors or residents can witness and experience their commitment to renewable energy field in many different ways. They can be stake holders, investing in a single generator para-kite. The investor receives energy equivalent to that harvested by that generator, as well as a live feed view of the landscape from the para-kite into their home. This in house artwork serves a weather gauge and a ‘living’ landscape painting. Visitors to the energy park can also approach the support posts and have a ‘periscope’ view from the ground of the para-kite’s view. And finally, a visitor, may elect—with managed permission—to ride up in a para-kite. This allows the economic models for the implementation of the project to be distributed either before, through residential stakeholders, or after capital costs, through tourism. The project has an entrepreneurial spirit.

The park generates other phenomenal events such as playful shadows on the ground and dynamic patterns in the sky. These geometries could be commissioned to environmental artists, or could be coordinated with regional events or seasonal holidays.

Unlike large-scale energy infrastructures that are out-of-scale, off-site, and off-limits, WeatherField is interactive, and its energy capacity is scalable to the size of a single-home. In other words, energy use is quantifiable and qualitative at the scale of a single user, promoting energy efficiency and energy consciousness.

B. How does it work?

The Para-kite
The para-kite is a hybrid of a parachute, a kite, and a glider. It is equipped with a series of hollow air chamber cells along its length, which allows it to become airborne and remain aloft in sufficient winds. As wind passes through the air cells, it encounters a series of non-turbine energy harvesting Windbelts™ along the depth of the chamber. The belts thin profile converts “aerolastic flutter” to AC power within the para-kite’s chambers. Only low to medium air movement is necessary for this technology to still have significant impact. The Windbelt™ generates AC power down the suspension lines to the supports posts. From there, electricity is carried in series to a step-up transmission station on site, before being fed into the high voltage power grid to the southeast.

The side trim of the para-kites is equipped with light-weight magnetic strips. Para-kites can be aggregated and clustered to maximize a response to each weather condition. For example, during the Shamals wind, which can last up to 5 days continuously during the summer months, the para-kites gather in clusters of 5-6 in order to maximize harvest.

The Para-kite has a base station that consists of two carbon fiber posts. These are used for alternate positions such as fog, low wind conditions, and preparation for tourist riders, but it is also convenient for maintenance, storage, and as a sun shade.

WeatherFields Regional Network
WeatherField is a catalyst for a regional energy plan in the Middle East. The WeatherField at Yas Island is the initial phase development to spawn a large-scale re-consideration of energy in the Gulf region. With such an abundance of wind, there is considerable potential for the Gulf to be the largest renewable energy field in the world and a model for future regional planning.

Just as oil and gas operations have sought out invisible subterranean (geological) conditions for the harvest of dirty energy, the Weather Fields will seek out meteorological conditions for the harvest of clean energy. In order to symbolically transition from an oil-dependent energy state to a weather-dependent energy state, WeatherFields co-opt existing oil / gas field sites.

The regional plan proposes the decommissioning of a 20th century industrial energy fields across the Persian Gulf and its transformation into a network of 21st century public energy parks.

low-res version PDF of submitted boards

Atelier dna
Designed for Site #3 in Abu Dhabi, adjacent to Masdar City Site.

Concept and Design: Darío Núñez Ameni and Thomas Siegl, with Atelier dna
Narrative and Poetics: Gabrielle Jesiolowski
Structure and Engineering: Radhi Majmudar PE, with ISSE Innovative Structural and Specialty Engineering
Ecology and Renewable Energy Strategy: Ian Lipsky, with eDesign Dynamics

land art generator
Design Submission for the 2010 Land Art Generator Initiative Design Competition
Second Place Mention from the Jury

Artist’s descriptive text:

Our project starts out as a desire, a whisper, like grasping at straws, clenching water.

Our project takes clues from the way the wind caresses a field of wheat, or reeds in a marsh; our hair on a gusty afternoon.

Our project consists of 1203 stalks, 55 meters high, anchored on the ground with concrete bases that range between 10 to 20 meters in diameter. The stalks are made of carbon fiber reinforced resin poles, 30 cm in diameter at the base and 5 cm at the top. The top 50 cm of the poles are lit up by an LED array that glows and dims depending on how much the poles are swaying in the wind. When there is no wind–when the poles are still–the lights go dark.

The bases that support the poles are arrayed along the site following a logarithmic spiral, the kind we see in the center of a sunflower. The bases all
touch each other, forming a kind of carpet, a kind of fabric.

land art generator

The bases are shaped like vortices–no two vortices are identical–When it rains, the rain water slides down the slopes of the bases to collect in the spaces between, concentrating scarce water. Here, plants can grow wild.

You can walk on the bases of the poles, you can traverse the whole site by walking from base to base. You can lean on the slopes, lie down, stay awhile and listen to the sound the wind makes as it rushes between the poles.

But our project isn’t just desire.

Within each hollow pole is a stack of piezoelectric ceramic discs. Between the ceramic disks are electrodes. Every other electrode is connected to each other by a cable that reaches from top to bottom of each pole. One cable connects the even electrodes, and another cable connects the odd ones. When the wind sways the poles, the stack of piezoelectric disks is forced into compression, thus generating a current through the electrodes.

land art generator

Within each concrete base is a hollow chamber that houses a torque generator.

The generator converts the kinetic energy of the swaying poles into electrical energy by way of an array of current generating shock absorbers, which convert energy produced by the forced movement of fluid through the shock absorber cylinders.

The electricity that our project generates isn’t constant, it depends on the wind.

To compensate we make a kind of battery, a capacitor, a way to store energy:

Below the field of poles are two very large chambers, chambers as large as the whole site. The chambers are shaped like the bases of the poles but inverted, then inverted again, and again and once more.

There’s upper chamber and a lower one beneath. When the wind blows, part of the electricity generated powers a set of pumps, the pumps move water from the lower chamber to the upper one. When the air is still–when there is no wind– the water from the upper chamber flows down again turning the pumps into generators.

Our project is conceptual, yet It is based on a set systems that already exist and work. Our project attempts to combine these systems into a coherent synergetic

land art generator

The shape of our Windstalks should be optimized to behave as chaotically as possible, they should flutter, oscillate, vibrate. Computer generated simulations can aid in determining and optimizing the best profile for maximizing movement and variation.

We roughly estimate that the overall output of our project is comparable to that of a conventional wind turbine array. While a single wind turbine that is limited in height to 55 meters may produce more energy than one of our Windstalks, our Windstalks can be packed in denser arrays.

land art generator

land art generator

land art generator

low-res version PDF of submitted boards

By Antonio Maccà and Flavio Masi
Designed for Site #3 in Abu Dhabi, on Airport Road adjacent to Masdar City.

Antonio Maccà and Flavio Masi
Design Submission for the 2010 Land Art Generator Initiative Design Competition

Artist’s Descriptive Text:
The Photovoltaic Solar System on December 2nd 1971: The Day of Birth of the United Arab Emirates

The project is an artistic interpretation of the Solar System as well as an ideal symbol of the United Arab Emirates: the position of the planets corresponding to the configuration of the Solar System on December 2nd 1971, the day in which the United Arab Emirates were founded.

The environmental installation is a metaphor of the Seven Emirates, represented in form of a Sun with six planets guided by the spiritual sphere (the Crescent): in a work that ideally puts art at the disposal of the history, both past and present, of the Country it aims to celebrate.

The artwork is also meant to create a new iconic sun for the City of Abu Dhabi: the astronomic Sun radiating energy to the new photovoltaic sun, which will generate light and electric power for the future urban area of Masdar.

The PV sun works as the attracting element and symbolizes the unity and infinity of the cosmo: the endless geometrical pattern of the golden surface, with its timeless perfection and purity, represents the starry sky and creates a spherical motif of both light and shade, thus dematerializing the sun and emphasizing its transparency. The PV sun is to be completed by means of LEDS that will light up its skin throughout the night.

Antonio Maccà and Flavio Masi

The project suggests a contemporary landmark defining a unique relationship between nature, art and science. It is structured as a scheme made of circles that defines the entire area according to one single principle. The almost concentric traces, drawn with natural stones on the land, symbolize the orbits described by the planets around the Sun and will be easily recognizable from great distances, also by the landing planes of the nearby airport.

The land artwork is positioned in the plane barycentric area of the almost triangular site, with the largest trajectory tangential to the boundary limits of the roads, thus establishing an optimum relationship with the surrounding open spaces.

The static concentric structure of the project is vitalized by the planets, ideally seeming to roll all around the site on the orbits, thus creating a complex of dynamical sculptures. The spheres are all different, varyingin structure, dimension, colour, transparency degree and photovoltaic technology. The dimensions of the planets will depend on construction costs and on the required amount of energy to beproduced.

The Earth is the only place in the universe where life is known to exist: life on earth is therefore symbolized by an already existing tree,around which will be constructed a photovoltaic greenhouse with the serigraphy of the continents. The Moon, its satellite, is endowed on the surface with an opening in shape of a Crescent.

The founding conceptsfor the other planets are suggested by astronomic phenomena, such as: the presence of atmosphere in a planet for the double concentric spheres, the impact craters on the surface for the sphere composed by circles, the ring system for the split globe, the cloud bands of a gas giant for the photovoltaic solar shading sphere and the eclipse for the black planet.

The planets, like pavilions, can host entertaining and educational facilities, such as temporary exhibitions or public activities, in order to create a new place of collective identification and a fascinating cultural site.

In this way, uniting the rationality of the concentric orbits with the multiplicity, the differentiation and the interaction of the planets, the art installation will become an open system in dialogue with the environment.

The structure of the complex will offer a flexible constructive system, composed by geodetic steel structures to which photovoltaic panels will be applied.

The installation is a representation of the Solar System composed by photovoltaic solar systems. It will capture energy from the sun and convert it into electricityusing innovative typologies of polycrystalline thinfilm photovoltaic technologies: thin film with an active layer of copper, indium, gallium and selenide (CIGS) and thin film solar cells with multycrystalline silicon (mc-Si). The photovoltaic panels are different for each planet, according to their different materials, shapes, colours and textures. They have maximum outputs even in high ambient temperatures and with diffuse light, and convert all the surfaces of the sculptures into energy generators.

The land artwork itself represents an astronomic macro-nature in the landscape. The strategy of creating stony orbits on the natural surface and superposing the photovoltaic planets on them defines a soft intervention that doesnothave any negative impact on the natural surroundings and doesnot produce any effect at all on the ecosystem of the site.

The aerodynamic sculptures communicate a sensation of weightlessness, both visually and physicallytouching the landscapelightly. Each sculpture has an extremely limited contact zone on the ground, thus preserving the nature of the site and integrating itself with the local ecosystem.

The technical solutions and the environmental compatibility establish the future sustainability of the park, creating a scientific artwork that will produce effects of wonder and peacefulness in harmony with Nature, for a future of renewable energy.

Antonio Maccà and Flavio Masi

Antonio Maccà and Flavio Masi

low-res version PDF of submitted boards

By Martina Decker and Peter Yeadon (Decker Yeadon LLC, New York City).
Designed for Site #1 in Dubai, adjacent to Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary.

land art generator
Design Submission for the 2010 Land Art Generator Initiative Design Competition

Artist’s descriptive text:
Light Sanctuary : An empowered landscape for the UAE

What if a mirage were real? The precise optical effects of reflection, diffusion, and inversion that are an essential feature of the desert landscape have acquired a reputation of mystery and even of deception. This proposal, instead, brings clarity, utility, lightness, and authentic meaning to the idea of the mirage: of a scintillating fluid structure seeming to float above the dry landscape, balancing and enhancing its calligraphic geography and fierce beauty.

To do this, we propose not the collection or distribution of water (the conventional illusion suggested by the desert’s optical effects), but instead the production of electrical energy. The project is a sea of ribbons, incorporating photovoltaic technology, touching lightly on the land, reaching out toward the water’s edge at the Ras Al Khor site. Forty kilometers of ribbons, some 80,000 square meters in total surface area, are raised like a continuous flag or banner, a minimum of six meters above grade. These ribbons, each 10m in height, are poised on a distributed network of strong but slender masts, structurally recalling the historical inheritance of fabric and nomadic architecture.

The ribbons are folded and swooped and nestled and caressed into complex waveforms that evoke natural landscape formations of desert and coastline, sand and water — but which are actually technologically optimized for the oriented exposure of their surface to light, heat, and shade. Their surfaces are continuous laminations of third-generation photovoltaics, an innovative ecological alternative to conventional silicon panels. This elegant thin-film technology has an inherent beauty: the surprising amber and pomegranate tones of its translucent surface evoke the resins, silica, and clays that are part of the desert’s natural botanical and geological resources.

This dye-sensitized solar cell technology exploits the light-absorbing properties of the organic dyes that provide its rich color. Within the thin laminations of the flexible membrane, an organic dye derived from botanicals like pokeberries and other plants enables solar energy to incite a titanium dioxide electron exchange, thus producing direct current that is harvested by transparent polymer electrodes.

Mature thin-film solar technologies are already available from various manufacturers (including Konarka, G24 Innovation, and others), and are well suited to this project and the requirements of its unique environment. Unlike older silicon-based panels, these translucent membranes can absorb light across 140º relative to their surface. This extraordinarily wide angle of available light absorption enables them to work well when installed vertically, which minimizes the accumulation of dust and sand; further, their flexible properties enhance their ability to vibrate small particles off the photovoltaic surface — to essentially be self-cleaning.

Although they are visually subtle, dye-sensitized solar cells are remarkably durable and stable in a wide range of climate and weather conditions, including extreme heat and extreme temperature change. Whereas the efficiency of older silicon-based solar panels falls as temperatures rise, the proposed organic dye technology becomes increasingly efficient with increases in temperature. A number of variables, such as reflected light from the desert floor and local atmospheric factors, will influence the operational generation of energy. Calibrated optimally, the ribbon array as proposed would generate 4592 megawatt hours (16530 gigajoules) of energy annually — an educationally visible expression of a contribution to the invisible electricity grid, and a comprehensible percentage of power production within the United Arab Emirates.

While it is informed by globally cutting-edge technology, this intervention is closely sensitive to the local presence, geology and living landscape of its setting. The entire land art installation floats as a sinuous gesture across 40 hectares, a little over half of the available Ras Al Khor site. The geometry and tectonics of the structure minimizes its ecological impact, yet optimizes its technological efficiency. Other than a carefully calibrated network of narrow supports, it touches the ground only at one concentration point in its waveform pattern, leaving the local desert surface, plant and animal habitats, and surface water flows essentially undisturbed and unimpeded.

The large surface area of the ribbons gathers abundant solar energy and directs its power toward this concentration point, protected and expressed as a single strong sculptural structure, which houses inverters and transformers, and also serves as the plinth for a raised viewing platform. This elliptical platform is approached by a ramped and curving path that guides the viewer up through a shaded forest of supports, up through a sea of amber, and up to a promenade just above the ribbons. From the adjacent Route 44 Highway and landscapes, Light Sanctuary has all the mystery and promise of a mirage at its most beautiful and powerful; from the ramp, one experiences a unique and contemplative visual immersion; from the viewing promenade, the visitor authentically perceives the modern reality and energetic potential to be seen in the city skyline of Dubai.

land art generator

land art generator

land art generator

low-res version PDF of submitted boards

Starting today, we will be posting all of the entries, one-by-one, here on the Land Art Generator Initiative blog. The order of the posts will be random and have no bearing on the ranking of the projects with the jury. As you know from following this blog, the winner has been contacted. The announcement will be made at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi this coming January and the identity of the winner will remain a secret until then.

We are very pleased to announce:
The prize for the winning design of UAE Land Art Generator Initiative’s (LAGI) first international design competition will be sponsored by Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s multi-faceted initiative advancing the development, commercialization and deployment of renewable and alternative energy technologies and solutions.

The winning team will be awarded the prize at the 2011 World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi (January 17-19). The award ceremony will take place as part of the Land Art Generator exhibition at Masdar stand at WFES.

A select jury panel consisting of 20 local and international artists, architects, academicians, industry leaders and writers have reviewed the entries and a winner has been decided. The winning artist will be notified on Monday, August 9th, but the decision will remain unannounced until the ceremony at the World Future Energy Summit. All the designs will be posted here on the Land Art Generator Initiative blog site—about three per week during the autumn.

LAGI is a first-of-its-kind interdisciplinary collaboration that has brought together global artists, architects, scientists, landscape architects, and engineers to design energy-generating public art installations to be considered for construction in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The international competition, which closed on June 4, 2010, received entries from over 40 countries. Each sculpture will continuously distribute clean energy into the electrical grid with the potential to provide power to thousands of homes.

We live in a world that cross-culturally puts a high emphasis on design. As energy generation necessarily comes in closer proximity with the real estate that it powers, issues of aesthetics that drive public acceptance are becoming more and more debated. We believe that it is not only possible, but also necessary that renewable energy generation be integrated into the fabric of our constructed environments. In so doing, these installations must react responsibly to their role as permanent additions to our shared experience. In their most lofted role, they will also serve the more cultural function as works of art that can inspire and educate.

The residents of the communities in which these artworks are constructed will be pleased to know that some percentage of the power that is being used by the lights in their home has been generated cleanly by works of art. Sustainability in communities is not only about resources, but it is also about harmony.

Masdar is Abu Dhabi’s multi-faceted initiative advancing the development, commercialization and deployment of renewable and alternative energy technologies and solutions. Masdar is driven by the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (ADFEC), a wholly owned company of the government of Abu Dhabi through the Mubadala Development Company.

Wind Lens

News this week from the Renewable Energy International Exhibition in Yokohama, Japan highlights some visually and technologically interesting new turbine designs for offshore wind power.

The hoop that surrounds the blade structure acts like a magnifying lens to increase the speed of the wind at the center of the circle. We can’t claim to understand the physics behind this effect, but the news reports cite verifications experiments that have been conducted and it appears that the project is getting support for construction in Japan.

The addition of more blades and a hoop around them makes the turbines look just a little bit more like the London Eye than your standard three blade HAWT. Will this aesthetic appeal to more people and lead to a greater acceptance of wind turbines that are located in view of highly populated areas? Perhaps if they can offer rides in gondolas that run around the hoops…


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