· September 2010

September 2010

You are currently browsing the monthly archive for September 2010.

Takuya Onishi / LAUNCHPAD05
Designed for Site #1 in Dubai, near Ras al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary.

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

Artist’s descriptive text:
An ordinary solar plant places solar panels and frame structures directly on the ground. The narrow space in between each row combined with the lack of shade and reflections create an unfriendly environment for human, animal and vegetation.

On a site where there is such beautiful scenery and indigenous vegetation, FERN solar plants are designed to gently sway at a minimum of three meters above the ground to provide cover from the sun and add to the visual beauty of the landscape. The FERN leaf/solar panel is a semi-transparent and flexible solar cell that gives a gentle light and provides a friendly space for all kind of animal and greenery below.

land art generator

FERN is designed to artfully follow the movement of the sun at all times. A flexible carbon fiber structure with a tension wire adjuster system achieves constant slow movement for following the sun at any position in the sky. A rotation motor for the PV leaf panels provides even greater accuracy.

land art generator

The stalk of FERN is made of material similar to that used for pole vaulting, providing a strong but flexible/springy structure that mirrors a natural plant stalk.

FERN leaf/solar panel is “semi-transparent and flexible solar cell on plastic and cloth” which was invented by Prof. John Rogers and his colleagues from the University of Illinois. This innovation gives a gentle, light and friendly lighting effect for plants and animals existing underneath.

land art generator

The site can accommodate 10,256 FERN units which would give the effect of an artificially forested park and would be a welcoming environment for visitors to enjoy the scenery and wildlife. While FERN casts wide shadows during the daytime, it gradually stands vertical in the evening and then lights up to the sky for the night as it slowly turns from the western to the eastern horizon to await tomorrow’s dawn.

low-res version PDF of submitted boards

Tags: ,

Milica Vlaov Tesic
Designed for Site #3 in Abu Dhabi, on Airport Road near Masdar City.

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

Artist’s descriptive text:
Creating something beautiful and efficient is not an easy task. When we think about beauty that performs well, we firstly think about wonders of nature that amaze us every time we see them. Sometimes it seems people of ancient times understood better basic principles of nature. The Internet is big invention of our times and thanks to it, now we can reconnect with all the knowledge needed to create a sustainable society. By using broad knowledge of biology, vernacular architecture, Arabic culture and of course the latest technology, we came to this design. We called it Alshams or the Sun.

land art generator

As part of design process we were drawing and writing in sand. Arabic letters were blending beautifully, looking almost as nature creations. Since the Site 3 is close to the airport, out design could be seen by plane passengers. The design is like one of the lines in sand, flowing and forming the word Alshams (الشمس) the Sun.

An elongated tent takes the form of the word. Why a tent? Because of its light structure, its common regional use, and its function as it can provide pleasant shelter for people and families on picnic. This is a new interpretation of the tent. The form is modified and dome shape photovoltaic solar cells by Kyosemi are attached on the outer face of the cloth, covering an area of 20,500 m2.

As part of the letter ش (sh) tree wind towers are positioned to cool an exhibition space. The towers are divided (diagonally) on four vertical channels. Towers are oriented at 45° to the prevailing wind in order for larger area to be available to catch the wind and to minimize turbulence at its entrance. Through two channels of the quadrant air is moving into the tower and trough two opposite ones the air moving out of the tower (due to the pressure created in the bottom part of the towers). Usually in the afternoon sea breeze will create a nice cooling effect and the whole exhibition area will enjoy a nice microclimate.

land art generator

A plant native to Namib Desert, the Window Plant, is a dwarf succulent. A large part of the plant is underground and the top of this plant is semitransparent and contains chlorophyll. It protects itself from strong sun and still produces energy. Inspired by the window plant, the wind tower has an additional feature. On the top of the wind tower, windows are designed to allow some sunrays to go inside. Inside walls of wind tower are covered with mirrors and dome shaped solar cells. Glass of the windows is Sony dye-synthesized solar cells and some amount of energy is also produced by them.

Materials used are: concrete for support structure, rope as substructure, and locally made cloth as tent cover. By using new materials in concrete mix design concrete can became environmental friendly. Produced by natural mineralization process Calera materials (cement, aggregate) sequester CO2 from environment. Concrete made with these materials has zero carbon footprint while maintaining standard strength.

land art generator

low-res version PDF of submitted boards

Tags: ,


Ann Preston, sculptor and Roger White, architect
Designed for Site #3 in Abu Dhabi, on Airport Road near Masdar City.

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

Artist’s descriptive text:
A Sculptural Artwork Using Aperiodic 3-D Tiling Patterns to Create a Pavilion, Plaza and 6MW Solar Field

Mathematical and visual principles that evoke the long, Middle-Eastern tradition of architectural tiling patterns are central to this project. The central building structure, which is the hub of an expanded, three-dimensional tiling pattern, is a sculptural artwork composed of a combination of transparent, translucent and opaque solar cells. This building is an open-air pavilion and is formed from just four tetrahedral blocks in different generations of scale. The two- and three-dimensional patterns generated by the assembly of these tetrahedral elements begin in a single inscribed plaque in the building’s entrance and expand outward to fill the entire site: first to form the Pavilion itself and eventually to encompass a multi-use outdoor plaza and gardens and more than 500,000 square feet, or about 55,000 square meters, of solar generator fields.

land art generator

The ultimate goal is to make solar energy plants beautiful, transforming them into cultural resources that are pleasing to the eye and mind, and enriching the life of the community. This combination of art and clean energy would be an inviting place to visit, becoming a center of local and international tourism.

land art generator

This artwork would produce more than 6MW of electrical power. Because of the inherent scalability of the tiling designs, the project buildings and fields could be easily reduced in size, or expanded indefinitely to even grander solar arrays.

The sculptural, central building, an open air pavilion, is the nucleus of the pattern for the entire site. The solar panels are attached to a geodesic framework and cover most of the building. In the eastern section is a tetrahedral dome filled with translucent, frosted colored glass forms. The floor is tiled in an expanding spiral pattern using single faces of the tetrahedra. From an observation deck, visitors will be able to view the unity and beauty of the overall design, including the complex pavilion design, the plaza below, and the more distant solar array fields.

land art generator

The building is intended to be a solar cell demonstration using custom photovoltaic glazing which can be screened between sheets of glass as Building Integrated Photovoltaics, in varying patterns, degrees of heat conductivity, opacity, shapes and colors. The solar cells are intrinsic to the building materials. The geodesic qualities of the basic three-dimensional tiling elements that comprise the building provide superb structural strength, belying the graceful almost diaphanous visual appeal of the pavilion.

The extraordinary two-dimensional, mathematical, architectural tiling patterns of the Middle East are based on a small set of shapes and subdivisions, which can fill the void with repetitions and permutations. Here, we use a three-dimensional tiling pattern, which functions similarly. It is composed of four, four sided forms or tetrahedra. These are based on the work of the renowned mathematician, Ludwig Danzer.

land art generator

The tetrahedral have interesting and complex properties:

• They can be combined in patterns that fill 3D space without voids.

• These patterns are aperiodic. Unlike bricks, they cannot be assembled into a single, regular pattern that repeats. Instead they radiate out in varying angles and combinations.

• The ratios of the edges of each tetrahedron are related to the Golden Mean, a ratio of proportion found abundantly in nature and which has been employed for centuries to generate visually pleasing art and architecture.

• Each tetrahedron can be built from a subset of smaller versions of these same four forms, as can the smaller versions in turn, ad infinitum.

• 2D patterns can be derived from individual faces of the tetraheda, when the edges of the smaller subsets of forms that comprise a tetrahedral tile are marked on each face of the tetrahedron. As ever-smaller subsets of tetrahedra are included, increasingly extensive, elaborate 2-D and 3-D patterns can be produced.

All of the forms in the building, plaza, and solar generator fields are composed of different scale generations of these four forms as they manifest themselves in two and three dimensions.

The Solar Pavilion is surrounded by a plaza, which continues the tiling designs of the building and its flooring. This area provides a very simple, drought tolerant (xeric) garden with a few native shade trees and patterned areas. All vegetation is to be designed in collaboration with local, horticultural expertise to employ indigenous, self-sustaining plants. The plaza would embrace the importance of the sun. It would contain: a large sundial, or solar clock; a café; and exhibition spaces.

land art generator

There is a mathematical substructure to music, which promotes a sense of rigor and beauty, but need not be understood consciously. The role of structure in this work is similar, and suggests an affinity between music and Arabic tile art.

low-res version PDF of submitted boards

Tags: ,

Masdar has recently installed solar powered absorption chillers to air condition their site offices. This is really welcome news. I had often wondered during my visits there about the prominence of the condensing units located all around the periphery of the site offices and how long this practical convenience would last before a more sustainable solution was implemented.

The story got me thinking about the potentials for absorption chiller technology and I discovered some articles and research from a couple years back about Einstein’s Refrigerator. It was a collaboration between Einstein and Leo Szilard and was patented in 1930. It could be powered by solar thermal energy, is silent, and has no moving parts. Its design was intended for food storage and it could still be applicable to that for sunny regions without much access to electricity. But similar technology is being perfected for use with air conditioning.

Companies like Solem Consulting™ and Sopogy MicroCSP™ are employing these systems today and they could be cost competitive to compressor refrigerant type of chillers in the coming years. But even today, they are the obvious preferred choice for sustainable development. They can run on solar energy alone, they use non greenhouse gas liquids (ammonia), could last for a hundred years without maintenance (no moving parts on the Einstein version), and they are silent.

As a start, I’d like to see all AC bus shelters switch over to using this technology. The energy savings and CO2 emissions reductions would be enormous.

A related brief TED talk worth watching is Adam Grosser on a new vision for refrigeration.


Valentine Troi, Georg Wieser, Stefan Strappler, Martin Jehart, Thoralf Krause

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

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

Artist’s descriptive text:
As the natural rainforest shows a wide variety of functions the unique SunRainForest Abu Dhabi implements natural skills to convert natural resources to sustainable outputs like electric energy and water.

The Forest Leafer opens up to the sky to collect sun and rain much like a budding plant, while other designs are focusing on using wind and other natural resources like dew to create a integrated transformation from the tropic rainforest to the SunRainForest of Abu Dhabi.

land art generator

The Leafers are build with the brandnew lightweight construction technology splineTEX®, which is based on fibre reinforced plastic and appropriate for the realization of architectural double curved structures; the flexibility of the material allows production processes without moulds so that each Leafer can be designed and produced individually without increasing costs (mass customization instead of mass production).

The revolutionary splineTEX® was invented and developed by the applicants together with global partners to answer the strong demand for free shaped design technics.

land art generator

The Forest Leafer is the core plant of the SunRainForest and combines effective energy collection with unique artistic design. The Forest Leafer finally grows to overall heights 3 to 9 meters and always moves the head in two axis towards the sun to catch most of its valuable rays. In the rare case of rain, the Forest Leafer adjusts upwards to collect plenty of rare sweet water to regulate the mircroclima inside the SunRainForest.

– The multi layer skin embeds flexible solar modules with wires through the veins. The full diameter of the leaf varies from 2 – 6 meters.
– The shaft connects the functional leaf with the solid basement in a flexible way (the shaft has similar characteristics like the pole for pole vault) to allow the horizontal and vertical movements to follow the sun. The shaft combines static and logistic requirements, such as forwarding of energy, water and light.
– The root contains the intelligence to steer and control the ForestLeafer by connecting the individual Forest Leafer to the SunRainForest and its visitors by energy output and interactive systems.

land art generator

Intelligent natural parameters are defining the exact position of each different “plant” inside the SunRainForest to guarantee high effectiveness of diversified “plant” functions. Due to the proximity of the site to the airport, the design regards both – top view an the human eye view.

– The Forest Leafers “grow” to different heights and leaf diameters according to its position and distance to each other throughout the whole area.
– The wind collector plant is placed on the northwest streetside of the area to obtain the maximum wind energy.

The SunRainForest Abu Dhabi produces 904.000 kwh per year based on state of the art solar and wind energy technics and spread fog of 600.000 liters of rainwater for a postive microclima influence by rising relative humidity.  

low-res version PDF of submitted boards

Tags: , ,


George Legendre, Emanuele Mattutini, Jean-Aime Shu,
and Alfonso Senatore

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

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

Artist’s descriptive text:
PV (for Photovoltaic) Dust is a site-specific Land Art installation producing clean energy with astonishing efficiency. It is strategically located on the outskirts of Masdar City, the first zero-carbon-footprint agglomeration in the world, next to Abu Dhabi Airport, UAE.

PV Dust covers 175,000m2 of desert ground with a new breed of photovoltaic technology, aggregating into a cloud of energy-producing dust. The PV Dust cloud has an eerie presence, recalling the great desert sand storms of the Gulf.

Below the cloud, a network of sand-coloured gravel paths striates the territory. Seen from the flight path of incoming, airport-bound jets, the forking pathways assume the appearance of traditional Islamic lattices. Made of sand-colored gravel, Pebbles and crushed roof tiles, this landscape relies on a distinct desert palette and does not need to be watered.

land art generator

At the heart of PV Dust lies a new lower-ground complex of leisure and retail amenities, conveniently located on the Masdar City Light Railway Transit system. The complex facilitates access to an otherwise isolated location and helps maximize the commercial potential of the site.

Future Visions
PV Dust, the photovoltaic farm of the future, is made of 279 cubic modules of 25m*25m*25m featuring innovative, omni-directional PV technology.

Our proposal for a new type of PV farm works with, and extends, the green transportation guidelines issued by and for the neighboring Masdar City. At the time of writing we assume that the LRT will be located underground. If not, the position of the PV module grid takes into account the hypothetical route of the LRT and could be adapted to work with an over-ground light transportation system (simply by removing those modules standing in the way).

land art generator

Hence PV Dust is a scenario as much as a proposal. Depending on the amount of energy required, the modular PV Dust cloud could be resized to meet those needs, and then grow incrementally over an unspecified period of time, like an orchard or vine.

A Compact and Powerful Idea
At peak power, the Sphelar® Cells used by PV Dust produce around 40 MW (please refer to next section). To generate a similar amount of electricity, an alternative solution using traditional flat PVs would require 310,159m2 of polycrystalline photovoltaic panels.

Our installation fits on just 174,375m2 of land. This is about 57% of the catchment of flat PVs. Our proposal has a substantially smaller footprint, it does not block access to the ground, and it spares valuable earthbound resources.

land art generator

How Sphelar® Works
Flat solar cells are unable to effectively harness indirect light. Moreover, in order to obtain a stable supply of power, their orientation needs to face the sun. By contrast, the new Sphelar® Cell technology developed by Kyosemi Corporation, Japan, captures light from all directions at once, including reflected and diffused light. Its spherical light-receiving surface does not need to track the sun, and hence, Sphelar® achieves unprecedented levels of energy efficiency.

With a diameter of a mere 1 to 1.5mm, Sphelar® Cells can be connected in parallel or in series. This enables diverse spherical products to be created, such as dome-shaped solar cells and “flexible” solar cells aligned on soft film substrates. Our proposal assumes Sphelar® Cells are grafted on a light plastic sphere of 500mm diameter, called a Host. Collectively, the Hosts make PV Dust.

Art Installation / Proper Power Plant
PV Dust functions as a proper power plant. Solar irradiation is collected by the Sphelar Cells, which generate DC electricity. DC electricity is converted into AC electricity by Inverters. Each 25m*25m bay has its own Inverter, located at its base in a small buried plant. Once DC is converted into AC, 20 11kV Transformers transform the voltage and pass it to 4 Main Network Transformers that feed it to a switch board. These devices are located in an underground plant on the edge of the site, cooled via a passive ventilation system (labyrinth cooling). Subsequently the power reaches end users via the power grid. PV Dust supports 3 densities of energy-producing cloud, with commensurate levels of performance.

(a) Small Plant
Distance Between SPHELAR® Hosts: 3.125 meters
Total Number of Hosts: 175,770
Total Number of SPHELAR® Cells: 12.4m
Total Annual Energy Produced: 25,472,675 kWh/yr
Total Number of UAE 3-Bedroom Houses Powered: 5,095

(b) Medium Plant
Distance Between SPHELAR® Hosts: 2.5 meters
Total Number of Hosts: 297,693
Total Number of SPHELAR® Cells: 21m
Total Annual Energy Produced: 41,723,767 kWh/yr
Total Number of UAE 3-Bedroom Houses Powered: 8,345

(b) Large Plant
Distance Between SPHELAR® Hosts: 1.92 meters
Total Number of Hosts: 460,350
Total Number of SPHELAR® Cells: 32.5m
Total Annual Energy Produced: 63,821,598 kWh/yr
Total Number of UAE 3-Bedroom Houses Powered: 12,767

land art generator

Public Visitors’ Centre
PV Dust will become a local landmark for residents and tourists. With no car parking provided, only public transport, visitors will board Masdar City LRT and alight at the heart of a lower ground complex of galleries, restaurants, and shops.

All retail and leisure amenities are laid out around deep patios that maximise the influx of daylight, while providing cool and shaded peripheral galleries.
Visitors will perceive the cloud of PV Dust from every corner of this lower ground complex. Should they wish to visit the installation itself, they can use the public stairs on either side of the LRT platforms to reach the ground floor and walk though the gravel pathways for a quick tour of PV Dust.

land art generator

low-res version PDF of submitted boards

Tags: ,


AECOM & Squint/Opera
Christopher Choa, Maged Hanna, Daniel Elsea, Rachael Pengilley, Margot Orr, Shafee Jones-Wilson, Hardik Pandit (AECOM); Jules Coke, Nick Taylor, Amelia Roberts (Squint/Opera); and Michael Bonnington
Designed for Site #2 in Abu Dhabi, between Saadiyat Island and Yas Island.

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

Artist’s descriptive text:
TRANSPIRE v. [to emerge, to be made public]

TRANSPIRATION n. [a natural process similar to evaporation. The expression of water from the aerial parts of plants as part of their energy cycle]

TRANSPIRE makes the invisible visible.

On a long narrow site bounded by a canal and a highway, one hundred iconic stainless-steel spires sway like barasti reeds and produce a soft shape-shifting cloud that clearly marks the site from a great distance.

We drew influence from many sources — including large-scale contemporary artists such as Robert Smithson, Jenny Holzer and the French street artist JR. Artists such as these have been exploring new frontiers in using surrounding built, natural and social environments as their canvas. We were also deeply influenced by local context: the harsh climate of the area and traditional forms found in architecture that provide shade.

land art generator

Transpire is a net producer of energy. Elegant in its simplicity, the installation celebrates the alchemy of natural elements essential for human survival; sunlight and seawater transform into abundant electrical power, freshwater, and salt. Transpire is a net producer of energy, a net zero-carbon solution, and emits zero pollutants.

Against the backdrop of a flourishing acacia grove set in a moat of multi-hued crystallized salt, the spires and the floating cloud combine to create a meaningful and symbolic gateway to Abu Dhabi.

Transpire creates a unique public intervention in an unexpected place. It is also a dynamic art venue: imagery, films and text created by invited artists or the public can be projected onto the cloud bank at night. During the day, under certain atmospheric conditions, a rainbow will form, visible all the way from Abu Dhabi.

land art generator

Stretching over 1.6 kilometers along the Saadiyat/Shahama expressway, the Transpire installation consists of five inter-related parts:

Solar rays, focused within 300,000sm of 9-meter wide parabolic troughs, heat synthetic oil to very high temperatures. This heat is transferred directly to a steam turbine cycle, or to reservoirs of molten salt to be used for power production both day and night. The extended area under the solar troughs is shaded from the sun – an extraordinary landscape that can be used as a public park.

land art generator

Heat exchange infrastructure, including underground molten salt reservoirs, turbine generators, and the desalination system, is contained within a 1 Ha secure perimeter. Stored thermal energy powers steam turbines to generate up to 12Mw electrical power during the day, or 6Mw at night. Seawater heated in an independent loop as a by-product of the power generation cycle produces low-pressure steam and potable water. Guided tours will allow the public to observe the technical processes at close range.

One hundred spires line the expressway and vent condensing fresh-water steam to seed the cloud bank. Each spire is 30 meters in overall height, and consists of a 27-meter ballasted lightweight top portion superimposed over a 3-meter anchored base. An internal pivot point within the central flange of the base allows the top of the spire to react freely to external wind movements. Low-pressure steam is fed into the spires via a flexible hose led through the base’s central flange, ultimately venting through nozzles along the spire’s edges.

land art generator

A grove of one thousand acacias in sealed planter beds is irrigated by 300,000 liters/day of potable water produced entirely on-site by the desalinization cycle.

A by-product of the desalinization cycle, concentrated brine cascades down terraces and creates and creates a surreal multi-hued crystalline field around sealed acacia planters. No waste brine is discharged into the canal.

low-res version PDF of submitted boards


Alex Bogusat and Rebecca Henricksen
Designed for Site #2 in Abu Dhabi, between Saadiyat Island and Yas Island.

Design Submission for the 2010 Land Art Generator Initiative Design Competition

Artist’s descriptive text:
Concept and Energy
To us Site 3 represents a place of connections and relations to its surroundings, as it is enclosed by highways linking the airport, Masdar city, Abu Dhabi and the surrounding countryside. Our intention is to pay tribute to the link between the country’s regions: dessert, mountain and sea. We explored these regions, inspiring all aspects of our design, including its orientation, form and mosaic screen.

The artwork is in the form of a triangle, with each branch reaching out towards a different aspect of the Emirate connection to life. One branch rests on the ground and forms upward into a sand-dune like organic shape. The North-West branch begins below the surface of the earth where it will collect rainwater and form a reflection pond. This arm curls up in a wave-form (representing the sea) and unites with the dune branch to form a mountainous look-out view point, accessible to visitors by a path along the edge. From this vantage point, (11m high), visitors will be able to see the three connecting regions of the country, as well as have a 360’ view of the Masdar City sky-line.

The sand-dune and mountainous elements of the artwork will be covered with energy photovoltaic cells (0.25m x 0.25m) that are allowed to blow fluidly in the wind, creating reflection patterns that mimic the sand dunes, and allowing the PV cells to capture the sun at many different angles on a continuous basis. The wind will allow for the PV cell shadows to dance and shift onto the ground below.

Environmental Impact Assessment
Basic mitigation strategy of our design initiative involves adhering to the principles laid out in the design brief, where our land art generator installation will be able to produce enough power to help alleviate the dependence of Abu Dhabi on fossil fuel generated power sources. The idea is to take the first step in alleviating population dependency on the burning of fossil fuels and in turn suggest alternative methods of sustainable energy production readily available to all. We want to address the issues of climate change and global warming and present this information in an understandable and educational way to site visitors everyday.

Our site strategy begins with the physical placement of our art installation. We wanted to adhere to a small footprint, and keep as much of the site untouched as possible. The artwork is placed in the South-West corner of the site in order to reduce its environmental impact, while creating a visible point of interest from the highway. The height is kept at a reasonable proportion in order to be visible to passing motorists both through and over the thin tree layer, yet it maintains its human scale as visitors are able to climb, touch, and feel before getting a great view of the nearby Masdar City skyline.

Solar Energy will be collected and stored underground where it will be linked to the energy grid of Masdar City. We are aware that there are production costs associated with the production of Photo-Voltaic Panels, including the high energy costs associated with silica production; however further consideration indicates that the benefits of the solar panel system will far outweigh the costs over little time. With the United Arab Emirates containing vast amounts of sand, this resource is considered a renewable commodity.

The Land Art Sculpture will be supported with arched steel columns approximately 0.5m wide. Steel is needed in order to support the organic shape of the form, and to enable the artwork to both connect with the land, and soar to heights of approximately 11m.

low-res version PDF of submitted boards

Studio for the Production of Reality:
M. Gunnison Collins (Lead Designer & Producer)
Aparna Sundaram (Clean Tech Analyst)
Scott Reinthaler (Architectural Illustrator)

With assistance from:
Jon Morris, Interactive Performance Artist, The Windmill Factory
Frank Barbour, Landscape Architect, The Windmill Factory
Matt Welsh, Graphic Designer, KillDiscoDesign
Jason Grimes, Illustrator

Designed for Site #2 in Abu Dhabi, between Saadiyat Island and Yas Island.

Design Submission for the 2010 Land Art Generator Initiative Design Competition

Artist’s descriptive text:
AP-REP challenges our psycho-social assumptions regarding the creeping ubiquity of the “Big Box,” as a symbol of dehumanized contemporary life, by subverting that form’s use for direct civic good and public enrichment. Such an industrial scale structure may at first appear as overwhelming as Big Industry, itself. But it is only within that context that any potentially successful movement toward sustainable human existence must be made. Sustainability is not anathema to the future of a successful U.A.E., as some in the west might postulate. Rather, any vision that ignores its continued success is not a sustainable vision at all. AP-REP proposes a narrative by which this premise might not only appear realistic, but appealing and desirable.

In the wake of the 20th Century, it is clear to us that any attempt to reconcile the seemingly disparate constructs of nature and artifice through the use of visual analogy or conceptual art is desperate, futile, and a legitimate expression of trauma, at best. The struggle to find harmony between the two by approaching them through the decorative arts offers some relief. When mankind proceeds under the illusion that humanity and nature are somehow fundamentally at odds, rather than seeing them as microcosmic echoes of each other, we unwittingly maintain a general denial of human nature.

It is human to seek shelter in familiar things – all familiar things being essentially man-made, even Nature, itself. It is human to fend off destitution and loneliness with fanciful hopes of redemption and the comfort of intimate sentiments shared under shelter. In more temperate climes, nature is something we approach as the Other for comfort. Any vision that claims we can live symbiotically in peace with nature has a utopian flair that offends common sense or may seem ridiculously idealistic, when viewed from within the conventional polar dichotomy. There is no imperative reason to see things in such a fractured way. For through acculturation and time all forms lose the teeth of their original intent and gain an organic trajectory within passing society. All things return to nature.

Despite the feelings of personal detachment and the individual’s sense of alienation that often accompany contemporary corporatized social forms (embodied by the Big Box structure), we can take some personal, if morbid, comfort in the knowledge that humanity’s legacy will be biological. All of the institutions which fence us in will deteriorate in the sands of time, leaving only ruins, remnants, and habits. Of this we can be certain. For this reason, man-made things ought look man-made without concern, for by that quality they glorify humanity and nature.

And so in response, AP-REP’s seemingly violent imposition on the landscape is designed to accommodate both graceful deterioration and conservation by way of re-use and adaptability. It is a place that, from Abu Dhabi, appears monolithic and brutal, not unlike the desert itself, yet upon approach becomes transparent and alive. The super-structure is a dynamic shade regulating device that enables a multiplicity of social institutions as a civic oasis. At its functional core, here is an armature for the scientific exploration of solar technologies. The peripheral functions are manifold and complimentary to that end.

The Park’s expression recalls an earlier era in the Islamic world when royal benefactors endowed public monumental destinations for the enrichment of their citizenry, such as the Great Mosques, Hamam, Caravansaries, Hospitals, Madrassas, Türbe & Mausoleums, “Lunatic Asylums,” (literally refuges for the mentally impaired), Parks & Avenues, Bazaars and Imperial Colonies. It harkens back, in its tectonic imagery to the world’s first era of Industrialization, when new technologies found expression in the monuments of the day, such as the Eiffel Tower, London’s Crystal Palace, Paris’s Biblioteque Nationale, and New York’s old Penn Station. The complexity of program is in keeping with recent aesthetic developments in Islamic Culture, making concession to entertainment and leisure complexes throughout the region. Through establishing itself in the alternative energy industry and by voluntarily giving renewable resources a vibrant role within the local social fabric, the U.A.E. can ensure the longevity of its ascent in a more sustainable world. That is the modest aspiration of this proposal.

The super-structure is divided into five 160mx160m square sections. Each section is an open platform for a different type of solar energy collection device, each able to be retrofitted with new technologies as they emerge. A retractable crane on a rail track, located along the south side of the structure, provides the means for these transitions. Towers enabling the capture of the sun’s energy rise out of the structure, reminding us of power plants and lighthouses. The heliotropic motion of all but one of the solar-collection systems gives expression to the sun’s movement and offer dynamic shade as protection from the elements. Foil faced roman-shades at the perimeter are held in position by taught catenaries and are raised or lowered for maximum comfort and to regulate solar exposure in the area beneath the permeable solar-collecting roof. They billow and ripple in the wind as a soft façade.

The AP-REP super-structure has been designed to be a platform for five existing solar technologies, all of which are commercially available and in use today, but are not yet cost-competitive. Innovation is still required mainstream these commercial technologies. Re-positioning these and other technologies, such that they become ubiquitous and inarguably modern features in the landscape is AP-REP’s goal. This is a vision of a near future: modernity that aspires to harmony between nature and human nature is its core thesis. The initial cost of this facility is estimated to be between US$1b and US$2b.

The sun’s energy is captured on the rooftop of the great hall through photovoltaic, concentrated photovoltaic, solar thermal and solar convection technologies. Photovoltaic energy is used in two sections, employing different technologies: tandem junction amorphous silicon (a-Si) and copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS), both of which attempt to solve the issue of cost in different ways. A-Si can be produced in extremely large panels, highlighting that its solution to the cost problem is scale. CIGS can be produced in flexible strips of extremely small sizes, highlighting that its solution is volume. Both technologies can be used in building-integrated photovoltaic [BIPV] products, emphasizing that their goal is not simply energy generation, but also efficiency. BIPV enables distributed generation, giving people the benefit of powering their homes, vehicles, equipment, and appliances independently. Both a-Si and CIGS have the potential to displace a portion of revenues in the construction industry that go towards inefficient or single-use materials. Capture of just 0.05% of the world construction market will reap benefits of close to $2 billion dollars a year.

Concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) and concentrated solar thermal are used in two other separate sections. These technologies seek to solve energy and cost problems through massive scale and centralized designs. They are appropriate where cheap land is available and solar resources are abundant – such as desert lands. CPV uses mirrors to reflect radiant energy from the sun, concentrating it onto a single photovoltaic collector. The collector converts the solar energy to electricity in the same way as a-Si and CIGS – by passing the radiant energy through a semiconductor material which draws out electrons and creates the current that is electricity. Solar thermal reflects radiant energy from the sun to a collector which contains water. Water temporarily stores heat energy, which can be used directly or converted into power to be stored long term. Both of these technologies have the potential to displace large-scale fossil fuel facilities. Just a 0.05% redirection of global energy revenues will earn over $1 billion dollars in a year.

The last technology used on the AP-REP roof is a solar chimney. This is the lowest cost solar technology, but also the least efficient. Radiant energy from the sun heats air below the glass roof of a low, flat enclosure. As the heated air rises, the stack in the center of the structure channels the air upwards. A turbine within the tower uses the resulting updraft to create electricity. Simply put, convection created by confined radiant energy generates power.

These five technologies highlight the possibilities for harnessing solar energy: electricity, heat, and convection are but a few. The Innovation Center housed within the labs in the low, western-most bay invites scientists and product developers to collaborate on refining existing methods and creating new ones in order to solve critical issues of the 21st century in a practical and sustainable way. The hall itself and the structure above provide the opportunity for these innovations to be showcased to the citizens of and the visitors to the U.A.E. A solar technology innovation that captures just 4% global solar market share would earn $1.4 billion a year.

low-res version PDF of submitted boards

Solar Dunes

Tom Wiscombe, Bin Lu, Ryan Lamb, and Dave Dantz
Designed for Site #2 in Abu Dhabi, between Saadiyat Island and Yas Island.

Design Submission for the 2010 Land Art Generator Initiative Design Competition

Artist’s descriptive text:
Inspired by seductive and mysterious imagery of Martian deserts gathered by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, this proposal produces an alien landscape on earth. The design consists of a field of artificial sand dunes made with pneumatic membrane bubbles covered with layers of sand accumulated from desert winds over time. The bubbles act as scaffolds for shaping sand at a massive scale. Extreme wind-formed and under-cut morphologies drive the design, reminiscent of Martian dunes, which are built up in layers of frozen carbon dioxide and sand. The windward sides of the dunes are aerodynamic and embedded in the ground, while their leeward sides are crystalline and cantilevered.

The bubbles are made of fitted, welded polyethylene membrane- similar to clothing patterns- so they take specific shapes when inflated. High-pressure air-beams sewn into the bubbles give additional overall support and help articulate crease and fold lines in the bubbles. Depending on whether or not the installation will need to be moved, the bubbles can either be kept under constant pressure or permanently hardened using carbon-fiber pre-preg technology. Bubbles will be tied down to the ground with a tension net embedded with a vascular hydronic system. The ground is a simple foundation of sand, hardened through a microbially-induced chemical reaction. No heavy foundations or superstructures are needed. Everything required for construction can be folded, rolled, or otherwise compacted for delivery to the site, similar to the way large structures in outer space are deployed. For the amount of volume constructed, the embodied energy required is extremely low.

Like Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty and other land art projects from the 1970’s, this is a project where scale matters, and the scale is tremendous. It is Google Earth scale. Nevertheless, underneath the flying dunes are deep shaded areas and lush grottos at the human scale, making the piece visitor friendly. Water inlets, which feed these grottos and provide evaporative cooling, also supply water to the vascular nets. Moreover, by breaking the hard edge of the site boundary, these inlets will allow for aquatic ecologies to develop on the site over time.

Thin-film solar cells appear and disappear in striking patterns across the dunes. Their pattern simultaneously responds to the path of the sun but also to painterly concerns. The image is therefore not one of technological efficiency, but of something vibrating between geology, technology, and synthetic ornament.

The energy output is nonetheless significant– in the range of 1.45 megawatts– which is enough to supply over 500 houses with power. This method of generating electricity reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 1,500 tons a year. In arid conditions, it is critical that the thin-film solar system is cooled and also kept clean in order to maintain its performance. During the day, the vascular nets act as heat-exchange systems, sucking heat away from solar surfaces, while at night, directional valves on the nets are opened, releasing water mist to clean away dust and sand.

low-res version PDF of submitted boards

Beach Ball

Tony Leung
Designed for Site #2 in Abu Dhabi, between Saadiyat Island and Yas Island.

Design Submission for the 2010 Land Art Generator Initiative Design Competition

Artist’s descriptive text:
These inflatable ‘beach balls’ not only serve as containers for PV films but also an installation interacting with wind, topography and visitors.

When inflated, the ball is temporarily stabilized by the counterweighted bottom cap. The PV films that weaved into a stretched membrane is tilted at 25 degrees from the horizon within the stabilized section, which provides better efficiency according to the latitude angle of Dubai (25° N).

When deflated, the tile angle of PV films will be zero.

Each film contains 3㎡ of PV cells film which gives a maximum output of 200W approximately.

Each clear latex ‘beach ball’ measures 2m in diameter. Alternatively, ETFE foil that allows better light penetration could be tested.

Base cap
The base cap contains LED lighting, air valve and silicon cable connectors which provides flexible cable movement. Each unit is color coded to match the color cap of ‘base station’ and should be carefully weighted to offset the weight of PV films above.

Night view
At night, these ‘beach balls’ will be illuminated by LED lighting installed on each base cap, producing a moving lightscape along the highway.

Base Station
Each base station is equipped with air pump, inverter and battery.

These stainless steel units are buried 1m underground to provide anchors for five to six ‘beach balls’ and to convert electricity from DC to AC for storage or transmission to electric grid.

A 8m cable containing air and electric conduits is connected to each beach ball.

Site impact
Consider the sandy and loose soil condition, the proposal is easy to install, remove and highly expandable.

low-res version PDF of submitted boards


Jose Carlos de Silva and Leonardo de Silva
Designed for Site #1 in Dubai, near Ras al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary.

Design Submission for the 2010 Land Art Generator Initiative Design Competition

Artist’s descriptive text:
Flowers, as plants in general, capture sunlight during the day, they transform the sunlight energy into chemical energy and by consuming carbon dioxide and water, they generate biomass and oxygen. Many flowers also follow the sun in order to maximize their exposure to the light that sustains their life. In an attempt to mimic nature, we present a system that, like plants and flowers, transforms sunlight into another form of energy that is more suitable for our needs. A giant ‘flower’ stretches up to the sky with an intelligent body that adapts during the day in order to directly expose its petals to the solar rays. With its petals, consisting of tens of solar collectors, it transforms light into electrical energy. Part of this energy is given away to the electricity grid, while another part is stored in the form of hydrogen inside balloons that will inflate and, when hydrogen is consumed in order to produce electricity, deflate, giving the SUNFLOWER an ever-changing shape, like it was breathing. The mix of different kinds of ‘petals’ will give every SUNFLOWER a unique shape.

These SUNFLOWERS are placed within a network of paths (branches) that extend through the site, creating a park where visitors can safely come and enjoy the view, and the comfort given by the shadow projected by the SUNFLOWER. There will be no more noise than the air running through the landscape on the site.

How it works
The SUNFLOWER is a solar photovoltaic electric generator. It is composed by a series of solar balloons with a concave reflective surface that captures and concentrates light 400 fold and directing it to a photovoltaic panel. The group of spheres that compose the SUNFLOWER follow the sun by bending the ‘stem’ or supporting structure. The electricity generated is then partially sent to the grid and partially used to generate Hydrogen using fuel cells, devices that can transform hydrogen and oxygen into water and electricity in an efficient, silent and reliable way to be stored and later used to generate electricity at night or during peak hours.

3- How much it generates:
The SUNFLOWERS in SITE 1 can generate up to 1 MW of continuous electricity 24 hours a day. This can be adapted depending on need; it could generate less Hydrogen for the night and send more electricity to the grid during the day.

Harvesting, Storing
The SUNFLOWER generates the electricity during the sun hours. Part of the electricity is sent to the grid and part is used to produce Hydrogen by water electrolysis which is then stored in low pressure hydrogen balloons. When in need of electricity between sun hours, for example at night, hydrogen is combined with the oxygen in the air to produce electricity and water using fuel cells. The water generated by the fuel cell is stored for future hydrogen production in a closed loop to avoid waste. In the process, oxygen is constantly being taken from and released into the atmosphere. Hydrogen can be stored for any period of time without any losses as opposed to expensive and complex batteries.

The SUNFLOWER has two types of petals
1. The solar panel: inflated, balloon-shaped concentrators. Each 8-foot-diameter concentrator is made of plastic film—the same kind of plastic film used to bag potato chips, pretzels, and so on—with a transparent upper hemisphere and a reflective lower hemisphere. When inflated with air, the concentrator naturally forms a shape that focuses or concentrates sunlight onto a PV cell placed at the focal point. This means we need fewer cells to produce a lot more electricity. In fact, a single cell in our concentrator generates about 300 to 400 times the electricity of a cell without a concentrator (text via: Cool Earth Solar).

The inflated structure is naturally strong—strong enough to support a person’s weight—and aerodynamically stable, able to withstand winds of 125 miles per hour. Finally, the transparent upper surface protects the PV cell and mirrored surface from the environment, including rain and snow, as well as insects and dirt.
Each concentrator has additional structural components: a small steel strut and a harness. The steel strut, tethered in place, holds the cell at the focal point inside the concentrator and provides a conduit for a small water loop that cools the cell. A lightweight, flexible steel band forms a harness around the circumference of the concentrator and is used to hold and point the concentrator (text via: Cool Earth Solar).

2. The Hydrogen Balloons: Made of plastic materials in order for them to deflate and inflate as the pressure changes inside them. The pressure is kept low (under 10 bar) in order to make the balloons cheaper to manufacture and to save energy by storing hydrogen at the same pressure it is generated within the electrolysers. The balloons will be deflated in the morning when the Hydrogen stock has been depleted by the electricity consumption during the night and will re-inflate during the day as the sun provides the energy to produce new hydrogen. This inflation and deflation will give the SUNFLOWER an infinite shape change just like flowers that open for the sun in the morning and close at night.

The stem
The SUNFLOWER stem consists of a central flexible structure surrounded by cables that run up and down giving it stability. These cables will then control the SUNFLOWER orientation by pulling and letting go according to need, which will give the SUNFLOWER an infinite range of movement and allow it to follow the sun without the need of any other complex multilink system. The movement will be slow and silent, just like in a sunflower, without affecting the wildlife, site visitors or anything.

The base
The SUNFLOWER base is a concrete underground machine room that works as foundation. In this room we find the SUNFLOWER movement control equipment, the hydrogen generators and fuel cells, the electrical connection to the grid and a water tank for storing the water generated at night that will be used to produce hydrogen during the day. The water tank will empty and fill depending of the amount of hydrogen available in the SUNFLOWER.

Scalability of the design
Since the idea is made of beautiful, independent, fully functional elements (SUNFLOWER s), the scalability is infinite, it can be put all over the grid, on top of buildings in the middle of parks in fuel stations, along the road. It is entirely safe, very light and with no exposed moving parts.

Environmental Footprint

Construction: It requires the transportation of the steel cables and structure (prepared in a factory), the deflated balloons, some water and all to be assembled in place with no heavy equipment.

Life and maintenance: The SUNFLOWER will require minimal maintenance, the whole process is contained either in sealed balloons or in the machine room in the basement with no exposed moving parts, and there is minimal need of cleaning. The solar panels and hydrogen balloons are easily replaced whenever needed. The flexible stem can flex all the way to the floor level to allow maintenance to be done with just some ladders or small equipment to reach the upper parts of the SUNFLOWER. The balloons concentrate the light received into the photovoltaic cell; therefore no reflection of light will be emitted to the atmosphere distracting birds and airplanes.

End of life cycle recycling: All parts are made of entirely recyclable materials, steels and plastics. They could be restored or recycled to create new generators in a cradle-to- cradle fashion.

Safe: In case of a catastrophic event, the hydrogen stored in low pressure balloons will disperse immediately in the atmosphere (zero pollution or explosivity). In the extreme case of a SUNFLOWER falling down the solar balloons are so light that they will create minimal damage absorbing most of the impact and the electric generation will stop the moment the panels stop receiving sunlight.

low-res version PDF of submitted boards


Matthew Johnson and Jason Logan
Designed for Site #2 in Abu Dhabi, between Saadiyat Island and Yas Island.

Design Submission for the 2010 Land Art Generator Initiative Design Competition

Artist’s descriptive text:
The Prism Cloud hovers over the desert, alternately casting shadows and spectral light on its surface. It attempts to render the invisible visible, calling attention to atmospheric elements that might otherwise go unnoticed. Within the empty context of a desert, the Prism Cloud creates an experiential fullness. Light is made visible by splitting prismatically into its various colors. Wind is made visible and audible as the canopy ripples and moves. The sky and the sand are framed in experiential oases made from concrete, which act as focal points and structure for the canopy. The canopy also harnesses solar energy through its array of photovoltaic cells. The project finds beauty in the extreme nature of the landscape, amplifying its effects. The elemental qualities of the site become focused at the point where the desert meets the water under a vast sky.

Mirage: Bent Light
From the New Khalifa Highway, the Prism Cloud appears as a mirage, an optical trick. Its reflective upper surface shimmers, seeming to bend the light. This effect acts as a kind of beacon, drawing visitors to the site.

Canopy: Shaded Light
The cable net canopy forms a tensile structure. As wind moves over the cable net, it flexes, creating moving shadows and prismatic light. The northwest wind is drawn through the structures of the photovoltaic cells, cooling the shaded space even further. Because the primary structure is a cable net suspended above the desert, the fragile ecology is preserved and allowed to shift and evolve.

Prism: Diffracted Light
The canopy of the Prism Cloud is constructed from a steel cable net attached to concrete piers (oases.) Embedded within the cable net are alternating glass prisms and photovoltaic cells. The prisms split the sunlight into spectral colors, which are refracted onto the surface of the desert below. These create pools of multicolored light through which visitors can wander. Photovoltaic cells are pyramidal structures that absorb solar energy on their south sides, and act as wind-scoops on their north sides.

Oasis: Framed Light
The unordered field of the prism canopy is punctuated by five concrete oases. As visitors wander from under the canopy into each oasis, they are made aware of the elemental condition of the desert. The sky is vast and framed by the upper edge of the oasis. Sunlight fills the space, while the ground is either pure sand or water, creating a plane of a singular material. Sky, sand, and the meridian in between.

Environmental Impact Statement
The Prism Cloud is minimally invasive to its environment and the surrounding desert ecology, since the only point at which it touches the ground is at the concrete piers, which can be spaced far apart. The primary structure is a cable net that never touches the ground.

low-res version PDF of submitted boards


Rebar Group is John Bela, Rachael Yu, Matthew Passmore, Blaine Merker,
Teresa Aquilera, and Masha Slavnova
Additional support from Geoff Sharples, Ric O’Connell, Grant Ballard, and Sahar Qawasmi

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:

Artocos are folded shell structures that capture and combine solar energy and wind to generate power, create space to inhabit and contemplate the surrounding ecosystem, and make visible and audible environmental processes that shape our lives. Each piece is composed of a double layer wall oriented to the path of the sun. Internal walls are clad with dark-colored thin film photovoltaic modules. Air enters through grated air intake vents facing the predominant wind direction. Sunlight heats the air in the chamber between the walls generating a convection air current while activating the photovoltaic cells. The double-layer wall curves and folds to enclose a wind turbine and three flue organ pipes. Air moving through the double wall rises and accelerates to power the wind turbine and activate flue organ pipes that generate musical tones.

Artocos is inspired by and derived from one of the lesser-known inhabitants of the Ras Al Khor wetland adjacent to the site. The Socotra Cormorant, Phalacrocorax nigrogularis, is a cormorant that is endemic to the Persian Gulf and the south-east coast of the Arabian Peninsula. Its color is almost entirely black. In breeding condition, its forecrown has a purplish gloss and its upperparts have a slaty-green tinge, there are a few white plumes around the eye and neck and a few white streaks at the rump.

The birds are highly gregarious, with roosting flocks of 250,000 having been reported, and flocks of up to 25,000 at sea. Since 2000, this species has been listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List, on the grounds of its small range. Its number are suspected to be undergoing a continuous and rapid decline because of human development near its nesting colonies; a recent estimate of the world population put it at about half a million.

The form and orientation of the piece is generated by a direct response to the site environmental conditions. Site One features excellent solar access and substantial wind from the northeast. Facing south, the thin film solar module clad double wall is oriented to maximize exposure to the suns rays. The body cavity and air intake valves are oriented to the northeast, facing the predominant wind movement.

Artocos feature a double-layer wall that capture and combine solar energy and wind to generate power. Air enters via the grated intake valves and passes into the chamber between the double wall. The interior skin is clad with ~ 65 square meters of thin film solar modules that absorb heat while generating electricity. ~65 square meters of thin film solar modules produce a steady 3 kW for 7 to 8 hours in the summer and an average of 1.5 kW for 4 to 5 hours in the winter.

Air in the chamber heats and rises through the walls and is directed to an enclosed wind turbine. The turbine is based on the Airbreeze model by Southwest Windpower, Inc. Operating at 20% efficiency, the 400 Watt, 46” diameter Airbreeze generates 700kWh per year. Air exiting the chamber turns the turbine and passes through the flue organ pipes, generating power and music.

Site One, located between the Ras Al Khor wildlife sanctuary and the proposed Lagoons development, is an opportune setting for a project that introduces a new aesthetic of ecological function combined with energy generation, engages current and future urban residents in the complex dynamics of urban ecosystems, and explores the critical role of decentralized power production through the medium of public art.

To the west of the site, the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary represents an enclave of relative wilderness amidst swirling traffic and sprawling urban infrastructure. Located just as the name in Arabic suggests – at the Cape of the Creek, it is among the few urban protected areas of the world. The mangroves, mudflats, lagoons, sabkhas, reedbeds and shrubs form a wonderful wetland coastscape that supports both nature and local people. Recognition of its global importance has promoted its ecological, educational, cultural and aesthetic values.

Formerly a wide, muddy intertidal area, dredging operations in the ‘70s and ’80s changed habitat. Large areas of mudflats associated with the tidal inlet, were reclaimed with dredge spoil. Only pockets of natural habitat survived and these were protected. Large scale mangrove plantations in the conservation area followed. According to data from numerous sources, water quality at the site is a serious challenge. With the proposed major development around the site, it is anticipated the volume of treated sewage water entering the wetland will soon increased considerably.

To the east of the site is the proposed Lagoons development. If constructed, the Lagoons development will cover an area of 70 million square feet (6.5 million square meters). Seven artificial islands will be linked to each other, consisting of residential apartments, shopping malls, office buildings, five-star hotels, resorts, a museum, marinas, and Dubai’s first opera house. At present the project is suspended; however, a leading regional property developer has announced that the Dubai Lagoon substation has been completed and is ready to be commissioned. Built to ensure uninterrupted electricity supply for the massive community project, the substation is part of the developer’s effort to complete the site infrastructure.

It is in this context that we propose our art piece and intervention to demonstrate the elegance and beauty of renewable power production integrated in a dense urban and ecologically rich setting.

From the shaded interior of the shell, visitors can operate the mechanical levers that change the pitch of the flue pipe wind organ, enabling a collaboration to generate harmonic tones filling the landscape with gentle music.

In our concept, power generated from Artocos is connected to the city grid to offset power used to improve water quality of the Dubai Creek watershed through biological and engineering measures.

When Artocos are activated by the sun and wind, they generate harmonic tones that create an audible cue that renewable energy is being produced and directed to improve the health of the sensitive ecology of the site.

low-res version PDF of submitted boards


Designed for Site #2 in Abu Dhabi, between Saadiyat Island and Yas Island.
zeroplus (Joshua Brevoort, Lisa Chun, and Ian Campbell) with Jennifer Dixon

Design Submission for the 2010 Land Art Generator Initiative Design Competition

Artist’s descriptive text:

In the Arabic language, there are at least ten names for water based upon salinity and potability. Beginning with ujaj, which is the bitterest and most saline water, and ending with zulal, clear, sweet, cool water. DEWelectric encompasses the principle of the bitterest of water to the sweetest.

Water has always been regarded as a precious resource in the Arab world and water conservation is well-documented in Islamic teaching.
Fresh water, a scarce resource in the UAE, is precious. It sustains all life, is nourishing, cleansing, regenerative, purifying, and rich in symbolic meaning.
Water scarcity is one of the most pressing problems confronting humankind in the new century. The natural water resources of the UAE will decrease by 16 per cent in the next decade, requiring the second-largest build-up of desalination plants in the world. Demand is soaring, with the country expected to increase desalination capacity by 76 per cent by 2016, to 14.1 million cubic liters a day.

Desalination plants, while solving some problems, create others. Desalination is expensive, energy intensive and emits greenhouse gases. Waste from the process is highly concentrated brine that can contain biocides, high concentrations of metal, and chlorine. Adequate and safe disposal of the concentrated brine presents a significant environmental challenge. In addition, large marine organisms, such as adult fish, invertebrates, birds, and even mammals, are killed on the intake screen. Decomposition of these organisms can reduce the oxygen content of the water near the discharge point, creating additional stress on the marine environment.

Our team chose Site #2 to develop a significant series of closed loop power generators by taking advantage of the coastal conditions provided on site. DEWelectric combines beauty, simplicity, and function into responsible energy production through biomimicry while demonstrating the potential for generating fresh water and clean, efficient electrical power.

The artwork consists of three components: an array of pneumatic condensers, a channeled walkway, and a shaded community gathering space that celebrates the vitality of water.

Pneumatic Condenser
The Namib Desert beetle (genus Stenocara) survives in the harsh environment of the Namib Desert where only a half-inch of rain falls annually. In response to the arid environment, the beetle has developed a unique water collection mechanism. A series of small bumps on the surface of its wings enable the beetle to collect water from fog that forms in the early morning and blows across the desert floor. When the beetle positions its body at 45 degrees the fog collects on its back and runs down the wings to its mouth, supplying the animal with water necessary for its survival.

Mimicking the Namib Beetle, each ‘water stalk’ condenser in DEWelectric is designed to draw water out of the air while simultaneously generating electricity and providing both fresh water and power to the region. Each condenser is constructed from a pneumatic tube that circulates fluid cooled by seawater. When the warm moist air reaches the surface of the tubes, water vapor condenses on the colder surface of the tower that is textured much like the beetle’s hydrophilic shell. The coolant is then returned to the sea in a closed loop system to be re-chilled by the sea. The delta in temperature around the chilled water stock towers creates a negative pressure that draws air down the column spinning a 7.5 kilowatt wind turbine that generates electricity to feed the grid as well as the pumps that draw the water from the sea to the condensers.

A total of 475 proposed towers are distributed in a semi-random array that extends throughout the site in a pattern that resembles the natural flow of water to or from a single source. Each tower, approximately 4.5 meters in diameter and 16 meters high will generate 180 kilowatt hours per day of electricity and 485 liters of water per day. This passive method of water collection also reduces consumption from the grid by a total of 3,217,600 kilowatts of power per year, a conservative estimate for even the most efficient and state of the art desalinization plant. This is output scalable depending on desired performance criteria. Supported on tripod legs that interlock together to add an organic quality to the repetitive tower elements and supports, they tread lightly on the land in order to reduce its impact to the site. These support legs become a tensegrity structural system enhanced by a protective shade covering device that collects and funnels water over the bowl shaped ‘rain space’ gathering area. The cooling effects of the tower clusters and shading devices creates comfortable places and subtle climatic shifts for people to gather and explore the passive systems of Yaz Island’s DEWelectric that benefits the entire region.

The Approach
From the road, cars come upon the vast blue-green field of ‘water stalk’ condenser towers. The public is invited to park their car and approach the site via a long concrete walkway sliced into the slightly inclined grade. Inspired by the ancient system of water channels know as aflaj (sing. falaj), a continuous conduit of water runs alongside the path and leads into the immense hall of water, or RainSpace. As one nears the interior, the ambient temperature drops and the water level rises. The channel of flowing water serves as an indicator of water production and provides a circulatory pathway to the entrance of the communal gathering space.

The RainSpace
RainSpace is an all-encompassing experience of water. As one enters the shaded water chamber, the effect of the overhead condensers and the canopy of collectors provides a significantly cooler environment than the surrounding desert setting. RainSpace provides a communal gathering place where viewers experience a continuously live event of ‘raining’ water. Water falls from above into a ‘carpet’ of inlaid channels that create an overall pattern inspired by the natural world. Referencing the inherent beauty of Islamic patterns, the continuous flow of water both above and below expresses infinity, unity, harmony and balance. Similarly, at first glance the process may appear extremely complex, yet the simple elegance of the system is revealed and immediately understandable to the viewer. The ordered repetition of the overall system, both above and below symbolizes a well-balanced whole. RainSpace creates a visceral and sensory experience that celebrates and honors the value of water in our lives.

Total DEWelectric Power and Water output generation

• Electricity: 180 kWh per day per tower or 85,500 kWh per day total (before seawater pump correction)
• Water: 1,354 liters per day per tower or 643,520 Liters per day total
• Water production is equivalent to 3,217,600 kWh reduced energy consumption from the grid (based on a conservative estimate for state of the art desalinization water generation)

Environmental Impact Statement
While the DEWelectric condensers generate power to the grid, the greatest benefit of the art is the collection of pure water, which is precious to the UAE. While water is currently supplied to the area from the Umm Al Nar desalinization plant, production in this manner consumes a tremendous amount of power in the process resulting in the emission of greenhouse gasses and creates a toxic saline briny sludge by-product that must be disposed of in a manner that greatly impacts the balance of natural systems. DEWelectric eliminates both of these substantial negative impacts through the creation of a passive system that produces zero carbon emissions.

The proposal requires a cooling loop at the floor of the seabed nested in the existing dredged areas which would minimize disturbance to existing marine ecosystem and also provide lower and more stable temperatures for cooling. This requires extending beyond site boundaries; alternatively, it is possible that the chilling loop can run underground with similar performance standards. In this scenario, the site would require additional excavation beyond what is already required for trenching a water distribution (system modeled after ancient falaj system) as well as to carve out a ceremonial gathering space into the raised contours of the site. The structural system for the towers are intended to touch down lightly with minimal impact upon the landscape and arranged to leave much of the site untouched. The cooling effect of the towers will create small microclimatic temperature zones as the wind moves through the site creating comfortable inhabitable outdoor places for people to occupy during even the hottest times of the year.

In addition, the entire installation provides a safe environment for visitors to explore and interact in and amongst the ‘pneumatic condensors’ providing a means for people to learn about the rich possibilities of passive water and energy harvesting in a direct and experiential manner and gather around the celebration of water and clean power.

low-res version PDF of submitted boards

Town Planning Design and Architecture
Designed for Site #2 in Abu Dhabi, between Saadiyat Island and Yas Island.
Boguslaw F.Witkowski, Maciej T.Starewicz, Elmar Hess

Design Submission for the 2010 Land Art Generator Initiative Design Competition

Artist’s descriptive text:
The aim of proposed structure is to harmonize existing landscape formed by existing on site sand dunes and vegetation perturbed by presence of the road running along.

The depth of the sky in Abu Dhabi almost blue without any cloud during nearly all the year could be enhanced by the created cloud-like forms, producing for us electrical energy instead of the rain water. This energy based on natural resources (sun and wind) is as necessary for our every day life as the rain water is.

The natural forms of proposed “Sand Dune Clouds” shaped as a cocoon by several levels of optic fiber web fabric composing external skin should appear in the existing landscape as an ephemeral structure softening the hard and artificial image of the existing road.

Purposely we do not extend our composition to the water limits to respect the natural existing condition of the shoreline and aquatic ecosystems but we offer an opportunity of observation of this unique natural area from the integrated to the Sand Dune Clouds volumes and from the extended bridged timber footpath network.

The structure can be divided into three main structural elements:
1. The skin
2. the platforms
3. the columns supporting the skin and the platforms

The skin can be described as an area element separating the inside from the outside. Due to the large spans of the skin and due to the fact that the skin is not designed as a “perfect” shell it will require a significant amount of material to support it. It is therefore suggested to continue the columns supporting the skin base and the platform to the skin roof to reduce the spans within the skin.

It is also suggested not to use the rather heavy steel structure but a timber structure where is possible to reduce the weight of the building. Additionally this would also reduce the carbon footprint of the building.

The platforms are typically supported by the columns. The span of the platforms between two columns should be limited to a maximum of 12m. It is suggested to construct the platforms as a composite structure.

The columns support the skin as well as the platform. To reduce the additional thrust force produced by the inclination of the columns it is suggested to arrange the columns in a way such that the thrust forces cancel each other out.

A – External skin will be created by a textile made of optic fiber PV mesh.

The optic fabric web mesh is composed of 3 layers:
1- the optic fiber core
2- covered by a single walled carbon nanotubes,
3- Protected by the external layer of optic fiber material.

B – On the dominant winds north-western side, the external elevation fabric will be equipped with the micro wind turbine-dynamos for to enhance the electric power production and bring the necessary refreshing natural ventilation.

C – The south-eastern side of the external skin composed partially by the solar protecting PV shells and north-western side, will be equipped with the memory metal made springs, which will regulate their open-closed position, depending on external temperature

This device will regulate the natural cooling and ventilation system without the need of external energy. (See scheme).
These shells will be made of self cleaning translucent material.

D – Internal breathing textile envelop will serve as a sand protecting skin, forming inner spaces.

E – Integrated external skin is equipped with illumination led system.

The ambient environment of the UAE creates extremes within which comfort conditioning needs to be made, and this will require a large amount of energy. In the current age where fossil fuel stocks are quickly disappearing, it is imperative that being energy lean, sustainable and generating onsite energy is a first-consideration for the “Sand Dune Clouds”.

Placing vegetation between the road and “Clouds” will allow for oxygenation of the road side air before prevailing winds carry the air through the installation. This will provide a fresh feeling to the space and can provide a natural air filter, thereby extending the lifetime of the internal fabric filters. Irrigation of this green filter will be via wind- and PV-driven pumps.

It is proposed that natural ventilation and its associated passive cooling will be designed into the structure with appropriately positioned and sized openings. With the openings activating in tune with the ambient conditions (see Memory Metals section), this massively reduces the energy consumption for driving fans and actuators. The solar gains can be used to create a lateral buoyancy effect that will cause hot air to expel from one side of the building thus driving cooler air into the building through the opposite side.

However, where there is a need for mechanical fans – and other electrical devices and lighting – the electricity to drive these fans will be generated from various natural and passive sources, including:

• CPV-optic fiber skin;
• Wind-turbines;
• Human energy through piezoelectric platforms (see 1, 2) and ticket gates

With the high-rate of commuters, there may be excess electricity generated that will then be stored in the ultra capacitor devices through the use of a one-atom thick structure called “graphene” as a new carbon-based material. These batteries are located under the walking platforms level.

High-performance façade systems are proposed throughout the “Cloud”, manufactured to reduce direct solar heat gains yet provide sufficient daylight into the interior spaces. With bright clear Abu Dhabi skies, it is possible to utilize fairly dark tinted systems and still provide balance in comfort and visibility.

In times of extreme hot weather, a reserve-cycle heat pump system is proposed that could use the adjacent waters as a heat-sink. A water-based cooling system can be integrated into the structure for distribution. Condensate forming on the exterior surface can be collected and used as the heat transfer medium or used for irrigation of the green filter. The use of mechanical cooling can be reduced by introducing thermal mass into the structure. Whilst the general light-weight scheme does not such the use of concrete, the material can still be patchily located in prime areas of high heat gains. The energy from the cooler night-time air will be stored and then released during the day.

The “Sand Dune Clouds” itself creates a specific barrier which aims to protect the natural surroundings from a negative impact of the existing road along the proposed competition site and constitute a symbol of a respectful attitude of UAE citizens towards the Nature.

low-res version PDF of submitted boards

LinkedIn Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com