· December 2010

December 2010

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Solar Veil

Rudabeh Pakravan Studio
Rudabeh Pakravan, Juipai Chen, Victor Otter, Maya Taketani, and Sage Renewables
Designed for Site #3 in Abu Dhabi, on Airport Road near Masdar City.

Design Submission for the 2010 Land Art Generator Initiative Design Competition

Artist’s descriptive text:
Living in the Middle East often involves negotiating the space between your body and the sun. Or between your body and the eye of a neighbor. The veil is a way for you to protect yourself from both of these gazes—a personal sanctuary in the form of a tent or a body covering. The veil itself is functional, but the space it creates within itself becomes infinitely valuable because it is covered.

Solar Veil capitalizes on the availability of a vast swath of land while consecrating it through the idea of the veil. By demarcating that which we consider sacred, whether it is land or body, we claim a responsibility for its cultivation and protection. Veils, curtains, and tents are also temporary; there is an acknowledgement of borrowed space, a desire to leave what we are covering unaltered underneath.

Our proposal covers the site at Airport Road with a porous drape of 300,000 solar units that together have a nameplate capacity of over 16MW of energy. At nearly 175,000 square feet, Solar Veil responds to both the scale of its context and its needs. It becomes a destination in its own right, becoming part of the history of record-breaking infrastructural endeavors in the region while reflecting the vastness of the landscape.

The drape lifts up and touches down on the ground, creating an occupiable and shaded public space. Slits are also cut into the drape and lifted up, catching wind in the direction of its flow and allowing air currents to enter and pass through the space. The wind catchers act in two ways as shown in the diagram above – one, to allow air to pass in and through the space and two, by connecting to an enclosed shaft that pushes the wind underground two meters, where the ground is a constant, cooler temperature. Air returns upward, cooling the space within the drape.

In a region where shaded public space is reserved for parks with entry fees, luxury malls, or on green patches alongside highways, our proposal will create a rare opportunity for people to participate in the public realm, either for recreation or to be a part of a social structure that supports environmental accountability. Situated immediately adjacent to Masdar, the world’s first carbon free city, Solar Veil can both take advantage of the physical infrastructure that is being built there, such as using the proposed monorail to access the site and limit the use of vehicular traffic, and the social network of a sustainable community.

Our proposal attempts to have minimum effect on the site at ground level. The ground remains 80% untouched, with the remaining 20% being excavated for shallow spread footings for the structural system and for the passive cooling tunnels. The site is mostly sparse, but porosity built into the drape system allows for light to reach some areas under the veil that would allow vegetation to remain. The ring of trees around the site remains untouched. At 600gm/square meter, the drape system is very light and needs only a minimal structural armature. We propose a light steel tube framing system that forms a lattice and columns. With the energy generation at a minimum of 16MW, Solar Veil can power 8,000 homes.

Solar panels have already proven to be an extremely effective source of renewable energy. It is no longer necessary to rely on the large and bulkier solar panels traditionally found on roofs or as part of solar farms, but even the most advanced solar cell technology that is available today relies on large, rigid backings and standard sizes to function. In order to create a drape, we are working with a thin film photovoltaic manufacturer to create a small scale unit that is made of photovoltaic laminates overlaid on a 7mm fiberglass panel. The units are 50cm x 50cm and link at the midpoint of each panel to provide flexibility. The units are incredibly light, allowing for attachment to a minimal structural armature. Our proposal ensures that the overall form of the veil allows for 60% of the units to be between 10 to 15 degrees from the horizontal, resulting in maximum solar contact.

Our proposal allows for 20% of energy generated to be stored for off peak use. Wanting a highly efficient storage system with a small footprint, we integrate a group of 12 sodium sulfur (NaS) batteries underneath the surface of the veil.

The surface area of Solar Veil is approximately 160,000 square meters. Even conservatively estimating that only 30% of its area is generating energy, Solar Veil can power 8,000 homes or other buildings in the community. At its peak, it can power twice that.

low-res version PDF of submitted boards


FLEET 1244

Shannon Scovell and Todd Montgomery
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:
Just as insects reveal the intricacies of their forms by unfurling their wings, the sculptural components of FLEET 1244 expose its layers to invoke a sense of wonderment and splendor. Each turbine engages with the wind, inciting a performance centered around the revelation of this natural phenomenon. The force of the wind sets the outside protective shell in motion. With enough speed, the outer propellers open up. The inner propellers beneath float up to take flight—whirling around, engaging the wind while generating electricity through this carefully choreographed spectacle. The rotations power a generator below, sending electric currents to an onsite substation. The energy is then transmitted from the substation through power lines to provide energy for the grid.

The twelve-hundred and forty-four wind turbines are oriented on a NW-axis in line with the most prominent wind direction for the area. The heights range from 8-30m with a wingspan of 4-15m. These dimensions gradate from the roadside to the water’s edge. Harder shelled aluminum wings encase the softer wings beneath. These outer wings protect the sculpture from hash elements.

A subtle glowing light is emitted from the sculpture. Energy to power the light comes from photovoltaic fibers embedded in the two softer fabric wings. Translucent fiber optic or LED embedded threads and PV cells are woven into the fabric that is stretched around a lightweight aluminum armature. Energy captured is stored within the windmill pole and released to illuminate the sculpture during the night hours. When wind activity is low, the wings are closed and a single strip of light follows the seam where the edges of the inner wings meet.

The complete unfurling of the sculpture occurs when wind speeds are at their peak. The field becomes a destination for art enthusiasts, residents, and meteorological study. Weather forecasters inform the public of seasonal wind speeds, making the unfolding of FLEET1244 an event for Abu Dhabi. Four-thousand and sixty-six wings in total will take flight as the wind drives the performance of the art; a spectacle of a glowing rotating canopy overhead. The field comes to life as the wind agitates the sculptural elements in the landscape. Passing across the site, the wind becomes visible as the art registers the activity of the air current. The invisible element becomes visible, demonstrating its energy potentials.

Viewing of the field can be from the water, on land, or in passing by the piece on the adjacent roadway. The piece comes to life in plan and section when agitated by the wind. Viewing platforms have not been included in the design because the piece is wholly visible from a distance. There will be a vista point, similar to that of a freeway or highway offshoot in which visitors can park to look up at the landscape before them. Due to safety precautions the art may not be easily accessible up close, but readily experienced from a distance. We propose that during an event, portions of the adjacent land can be sectioned off for visitors to enjoy the art and take in the vastness of the space.

low-res version PDF of submitted boards


Maria Dundakova, Markus Walser, Dr. Heinrich Stülpnagel
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:
Sun Panel Sculpture, Earth Sculpture, and the Tower
The language of nature is the language of people. Each kind of life (form) also has a (technical) function. The topography of Abu Dhabi is formed by the gravitational rhythm of the tide’s ebb and flow. Natural space and urban space are interconnected in a unique choreography of the elements earth, water, sun and air.

In Sun Rite Gravitation, a choreography of the tides emerges from the arabesque movements of the Earth Sculpture. Water channels that mark the Earth’s surface offer habitats for countless living species. Small, raised, dune-like formations provide a natural environment for green vegetation.

Among the elements that coexist with the natural tidal arena, the surrounding sun panels constitute a triangle that visually connects water and Earth. The sun panels rotate like sunflowers, tracking the sun.

Each individual element is just a piece of technology, but arranging them in a sequence creates a constantly changing line in the landscape that traces the horizon. A mirror on the back of each panel reflects the landscape, thus creating a dialogue between the sky and the Earth. The installation changes all the time, taking on a different aspect 365 days of the year.

A spiral-shaped tower connects sky and Earth and provides an opportunity for visitors to observe the entire surrounding landscape in all directions from above.
The chaos aesthetic of the macro and micro life elements and the juxtaposed new urban aesthetic of the sun panels have a mutually heightening effect.

Three dialogue spheres, three sculptures, interact within a triangular topography. Each one is clearly and distinctly defined; aesthetic, economically sustainable functions hold them together and provide three supplementary rhythms.

low-res version PDF of submitted boards


Mariyan Nasirpour and Behnaz Farahi Bouzanjani
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 main concept of this project is “interactivity” with environmental parameters such as wind, solar energy, and water. The land is a transformative power of wind, sun and sea. In our estimation, interaction of this kind of projects with surrounding environment would provide a panoramic insight into sustainable future cities.

Site of this project is located on a stretch of waterfront off the road that connects Yas Island to Saadiyat Island. In a sense, any intervention in this area takes a considerable attention to the natural parameters.

Rarely a context has such dynamism and interaction between natural powers. Here should be a new concept of time, one that is ever‐changing as nature. An uncertain strategy (rather than a finished composition) that responds to its context by integrating and fusing with it. Intervention must only take place to simplify actual operation of wind, water and sun. As the result of this interaction, form and function will co‐evolve spontaneously resulting in mutable surfaces. This mutable surface will affect its immediate environment while it is affected by them.

As a context, nature has subjective boundaries. Where sea ends green starts and where green ends soil starts. Our land-based interventions take a variety of forms and motions and cover part of whole site in colored pinwheels.

This land art is composed of 20,000 colorful pinwheel modules containing motions (vertically and axially) and producing energy. In each moment in a day, according to the wind direction and its intensity, this land art transforms into a spectacle of dancing pinwheels and water. Moreover, during the day, it makes shadows underneath while converting wind power to electricity, cooling its immediate surroundings. At sunset, this work of art turns into a sparkling scenery of light, like a pinwheel galaxy.

As we consider function of this land art as a clean energy generator we take into account following parameters:

  • Wind flow direction changes between night and day where land meets water: Land heats up during the day more quickly than water, causing warmer and more buoyant air to rise. Cooler air over the water begins to push inland creating a breeze. The rising warm air over the land cools and moves over the sea to replace the cold air that moved inland. Land and water absorb and reflect solar energy differently due to their differing specific heat and reflectance characteristics. It takes far more energy to raise the temperature of a pound of water by one degree than a pound of earth. Landmasses typically reflect more of the sun’s energy while bodies of water tend to absorb more. This is illustrated by the fact that 12 to 30 percent reflectance is typical for meadows and fields, compared to 3 to 10 percent reflectance for water surfaces. The resulting temperature differentials ultimately lead to wind, clouds, and rain.
  • This project aimed to design a portable wind turbine capable of generating 6000 kWh per year in a nominally 15 mph wind. The design is a vertical axis wind turbine with two half‐cylinder blades and an interchangeable shaft to allow for a hand crank. The drive shaft powers a generator which stores electrical energy by charging a battery while a microcontroller monitors an ammeter to control RPMs. The product can power a communication device in remote areas or in power‐loss emergencies.
  • Surface of pinwheel is covered by Solar Ivy by SMIT. Solar Ivy is a solar energy‐generation and delivery system inspired by ivy. Solar Ivy’s unique visual appeal and flexibility brings a technology traditionally restricted to the any architectural surface. It has the ability to provide varying degrees of opacity to modulate heat gain, light transmission and view. In this project the leaves are made of 100% recyclable polyethylene and are available in a variety of colors and opacities which make the land art livelier. The Solar Ivy will increase the pinwheel surface friction in order to catch winds.
  • This pinwheel water pump reduces atmospheric air pressure inside the pump chamber. Atmospheric pressure extends down into the sea level channels, and forces water up the pipe into the pump to balance the reduced pressure.

low-res version PDF of submitted boards

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We are very pleased to announce the official launch of our online energy literacy project, READ.

READ intersects art, science and technology with the objective of educating a broad audience about the concept of aesthetic clean energy generation. Please explore the four sections of the site that will guide you through some basics of art outside of the gallery, science of energy, sustainable technologies and the reasons that we believe that aesthetic renewable energy infrastructure will help guide the future of energy production.

Once you have gone through these steps, we have provided a hypothetical site onto which you can design your own LAGI energy-generating artwork. You are then more than welcome to upload your drawing of your design in section six. We’ll keep a portfolio of all the images that are uploaded.

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There have been a series of news stories in the last two days about opposition to renewable energy. We keep our eye on such things and it seems to be happening more and more. This is to be expected as renewable energy installations are on the rise. We’ve written more about this in the Community Reluctance section of our new R.E.A.D. section of the website.

Every day there is a new story about people disapproving of solar or wind installations in their communities. It’s not that they don’t care about the environment; in many cases the people opposing the installations are self-avowed environmentalists. To some people, the addition of turbines to the skyline that they can see from their porch or long stretches of dark blue panels in a field where there used to be waiving wheat are forms of visual pollution.

Other objections come from health concerns, noise issues, or valid concerns over the harm that turbines bring to birds and bats. Whatever the concern, it is incumbent upon supporters of renewable energy and sustainable development, along with RE companies, to address those concerns either through greater education and/or through design of renewable energy installations that do not come with negative side effects that can be pointed to by those who would seek to oppose their proliferation.

You can see some of the stories from the past few days here:

Energy and resource conservation is good no matter how it is achieved. Most people use far more energy and water in their daily lives than they need to. Replacing incandescent bulbs with CFLs or LEDs, buying energy star appliances, and turning off lights when you’re not using them are all good things to do and to teach about.

But with so much emphasis on consumer awareness programs in the GCC for energy and water efficiency (all very well intentioned and good), it may be wise to remember that there is one very easy way that conservation can be accomplished: price structure.

energy cost vs emissions

There is a very strongly rooted history of low energy prices for the people of the Gulf states. And the fundamental reasoning behind the subsidies is very well-intentioned and quite populist: the petroleum is a natural resource gifted to the people and therefore all the people should benefit from it. A news article from 1977 points to this very clearly:

“‘Oil is a social service in the Gulf countries.’ said a foreign oil company executive. ‘Economics don’t come into it. Their philosophy is: How can we charge for it when it is coming out of the ground?'”
– Associated Press, July 20, 1977

But the same article also points out that there have always been times when talks of ending subsidies were quite serious (purely for economic reasons, not because of environmental concerns).

“Dubai has announced it is dropping its subsidy for electricity, which cost the state $25 million last year and would hve gone up to $35 million this year.” [$90 million/$125 million in 2010 dollars]
– Associated Press, July 20, 1977

It should be pointed out that there are two ways to ensure that people benefit from the natural resources of their lands. One way (the subsidies way) is to not charge very much for the refined product or the electricity it produces at the point of consumer purchase. Another way is to charge a “fair” price for the product and then use the money to invest back into a well-designed and sustainable infrastructure that will be there for the benefit of generations to come.

In other words, what is the benefit of a polluted environment that is depleted of all of its resources? When one is interested in all of the people benefiting from the resources of the land, why is that benefit restricted to the generations of people who are now living rather than to all generations?

If we are really serious about reducing use, there is really only one way to do it. Raise prices. The prices should be raised not only to account for the real costs of extraction, refinement, and distribution, but they must also reflect the “externalized costs” that fossil fuel combustion has on the environment and on human health. This goes for all the countries of the world because there is not one that has yet taken into consideration the real cost of the consumption of fossil fuels.

It is good news that the Emirates are seriously considering strong reductions in subsidies. Hopefully this is a step in the direction of complete eradication of them for the sake of the environment and the future. Some very good recent articles on the topic can be read here, here, here and here.

Graph XLS file
Sources for the graph:

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Solar Organ

Bread LTD
Sarat Babu, Andrew Brand, Gianpaolo Fusari, Matt Johnson, and Nick Reddall
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:
A transition from a world powered by fossil fuels to a world powered by renewable resources is built on two pillars, technology and culture. The technology must exist to harness the energy that is present in our environment, and culture must support the changes that our planet requires. BREAD proposes that the next step in this dual transition is to reach back into our cultural legacy to find a forgotten figurehead for technological and cultural progress, the organ. Powered only by the sun, using a technology known as thermoacoustics, the Solar Organ will produce both sound and electricity. Viewers will have a chance to walk within the organ’s structure, absorbed by the soft ethereal tones of this musical instrument, knowing that as it produces sound it is also feeding energy back into the grid. The goal of the installation is to demonstrate the energy present in the environment around us through an instrument that produces both beautiful music and electrical energy.

From Ctesibius of Alexandrea’s first organ in B.C. 2000 to Giacomo Antegnati’s organ in Milan’s Duomo, for almost 4000 years this instrument played the role of the technical avant-garde, funneling the world’s famous composers through networks of pipes and valves. Before the industrial revolution, organs represented global technical achievement. Capable of producing sound in a broader range than any other single instrument, the great wind organs had up to 10,000 pipes, some of which were 19 meters in length. An organ was a demonstration of a society’s technical prowess and commitment to culture. Today though, the wind organ has been replaced by contemporary electronics and is no longer the technical or aspirational figurehead that it was. In comparison to contemporary technologies, the organ is often seen as an antiquated instrument. Unfortunately this view misses the organ’s true beauty, the way in which it transforms energy into sound, and wind into emotion. This transformation is governed by the most basic physical laws of our world, giving the organ a beautiful simplicity.

Recapturing this elegance is essential when we look forward to future of energy resources. We must learn to capture the energy that exists around us rather than reaching into the ground. Global culture needs to change to appreciate the intelligence of satisfying our energy needs through wind, water and the sun. BREAD proposes the Solar Organ to act as a way to both reveal the untapped renewable energy present in the environment, and to act as an international platform for musical expression. The Solar Organ will be an installation that will allow contemporary composers and musicians to manipulate its mechanics, allowing the very movement of the sun to play their melodies. The organ will produce beautiful, clear, purely analog sound and electrical energy through the most renewable of resources, the sun. Rather than being played by a musician, the solar organ will be played by the sun itself. As the sun rises high in the sky its energy will be focused into the internal structures of the organ producing tones as ethereal and magical as the desert. As the sun moves across the sky, shadows created by active optics within the structure will control which tones are being generated so the presence of the organ will evolve throughout the day.

The Solar Organ’s primarily role is to change solar energy into sound and electricity. Known as a thermoacoustic hot air engine, the solar organ will transform the heat from the sun into a high-amplitude standing sound wave by creating a temperature differential within the device. The thermoacousitc engine is one of a family of “Stirling” type engines that transform ambient energy sources into work. The magic of these devices is that they capture and focus energy sources that exist slightly below our conscious perception, transforming them into active work that we can understand. The solar organ will demonstrate to viewers both the incredible amount of ambient energy present in the desert environment, and the potential for that energy to take many forms.

The Solar Organ has 27 distinct notes, each consisting of seven major components. A Fresnel lens, a switchable smart glass plate, a solar collector, a ceramic regenerator matrix, a metallised ceramic heatsink, a glass resonator, and a vibrating membrane for electrical power generation (linear alternator). Each of these units is self-contained. The tubes vary in length from 2.6 m to .669 m, the respective frequencies would be 65.41 Hz and 261.63 Hz, giving a potential energy output of 27 Megawatt hours per annum. The Solar Organ functions by absorbing heat from the sun, which heats the air within the unit, generating a standing sound wave. This sound wave will both create tones to be heard by viewers as well as powering a linear alternator which will generate electricity. The frequency (and thus the note) of the sound is controlled through manipulation of the physical characteristics of the resonator. The linear alternator is most basically a loudspeaker run in reverse. Instead of using a current to move the speaker cone back and forth (creating sound), the cone of the speaker is moved by the sound wave, generating electrical power.

As the Solar Organ requires time to absorb heat from the sun to create its tones, it cannot be “played” like a conventional organ. Rather, the solar organ can be programmed through control of the switchable smart glass. The smart glass can quickly shift between being opaque or transparent allowing for precise control over the solar load received by each unit, thus controlling the timing of notes and the creation of polyphonic chords. The programming includes relational timing between notes, but also absolute timing relative to the time of day. For example, the programming could be designed in such a way that the organ will only play at dawn or at dusk. Its malleable nature means that the solar organ will offer an increasable range of expression, all the while generating electricity to be fed back into the grid.

The Solar Organ will offer viewers two important experiences. First, it will enthral them with the soft but powerful tones of this large musical instrument. As they walk within the structure of the organ they will be left to wonder how such a simple device can create such incredible melodies using nothing other than sunshine. The second experience will be the realisation that by embracing the energy present in the world around us we can meet our needs and work within and alongside our environment rather than compromising it. Those who have walked through the site will leave with a glimpse of an energy future that works together with a changing culture to create elegant and beautiful solutions to our most pressing problems.

low-res version PDF of submitted boards

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Sun and Water

David Tyl
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 following project is an essay on culture, combined with thoughts on progress and sustainability. It is meant both to interpret the landscape by connecting physical structure with natural environment, and to convey new ideas of sustainability and wonderment with regard to our current conception of energy generating devices. Primarily, it is meant as a sculptural device existing in the landscape, bridging the natural with the synthetic, the physical with the surreal, and expressing ideas of evolution, continuity, and the infinite cycle. It is also meant to stimulate thoughts on science, religion, and culture to all those who experience it.

The form of the structure is an investigation into interior spaces and privacy, leading to questions about the public realm and enlightenment. In skewing the boundaries between inside and outside spaces, the structure attempts to define what is meant to conceal, and what is meant to uncover. It brings about the notion of importance, and asks what becomes relevant to the argument; does one look to the outside from within, or vice versa? Where is the exterior, and to what are we to put focus on? Are we to attend to the natural landscape of the environment, or the speed and evolution of human progress? Where is the boundary?

In generating power, the structure makes use of two of the earths most abundant and renewable resources: water and sun. By using the two in a balanced manner, the idea is to create energy without the necessity for additional support in terms of non-renewable resources. By superheating the water that is local to the site (Site #2), by means of solar energy, there may exist enough energy and velocity to power turbines that will in turn generate useable power to the community. Solar power is thus used in two ways, that is, by way of directly heating the water that circulates through each ‘cube’ of the structure to create steam, and by way of photovoltaic panels that are attached to the grid portion of the structure – energy that is used primarily to assist in superheating the water to create steam. The result is clean useable energy that is created from merely water and sun.

Experiencing the structure is done in numerous ways; from a distance, within, and directly underneath. One may first come into contact with it visually from the sky (in an airplane), and again along the highway (in an automobile), and again within it walking among the ‘cubes’, and finally underneath it walking beneath the light emissive spiraled plane. The structure creates a visual impact both during the day and at night when it is lit. Low-energy electroluminescent lighting enables the structure to attract attention far and wide, creating a distinct image for the community that depicts sustainability, safety, power, and change. There is thus no time of day that the structure may not be experienced.

low-res version PDF of submitted boards

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Sediment Spores

Kurt Franz and Come Menage
Designed for Site #3 in Abu Dhabi, on Airport Road near Masdar City.

Design Submission for the 2010 Land Art Generator Initiative Design Competition

Artist’s descriptive text:

“One of the inscriptions of time (whose irreversibility is demonstrated by the law of entropy), dust is, sociologically speaking, an index. Duchamp put his finger on this indexical quality quite precisely, when he let dust accumulate in layers of differing thicknesses (and thus different durations) on his Large Glass (1915-23) in order to obtain degrees of transparency and of varied colors once a fixative was applied. Elevage de poussiere(Dust Breeding) (1920), the photograph he had Man Ray take at this point…” -Rosalind E. Krauss

According to Georges Bataille entropy is, by definition, excess energy; an overproduction. The current world is heavily investing in renewable energy due to new laws, potential carbon taxes, etc., in which energy technological efficiencies will grow exponentially coinciding with Moore’s Law. If people are unable to control this growing energy production, the future will face the same problem we do today, excess energy we call waste and therefore the ability to store energy efficiently is more critical than producing clean energy itself.

Interestingly enough, Abu Dhabi finds itself at the center of this polemic being one of the worlds largest oil suppliers. This mass amount of stored energy has created a rapidly growing city and population that has produced excess tertiary space in its sprawl development. However, these spaces will eventually grow to the density of the city itself but it is uncertain the future energy that will facilitate such growth knowing that oil wells will inevitably run out. Many nations have been investing in their underground salt mines to store energy in the highly efficient form of compressed air. Why could not Abu Dhabi do the same with their oil wells, augmenting space devoid of its original use?

Sediment Spores puts into place a similar initiative by using devoid space and excess materials and matter from city growth to create bulbous caverns of compressed air energy storage/solar energy production land art piece on Site 3. The interest of entropy, waste and excess was derived from the context of the site, energy production, and past land artists such as Robert Smithson and conceptual artist Marcel Duchamp. The site itself is a leftover space that is blocked from view by foliage. Such places are only noticed, or not noticed, once created. That is to say, “we only see the dust once it has settled.” The site is situated between 3 freeways near the airport and seemed to have the least value of the three sites thus proving the most potential.

The project addresses the “structural blindness”, as Smithson puts it, of waste in the building process. By using excavated soil from building(waste) as an instrument and a particular sand calcifying bacteria behavior as an architecture, the proposal intends to challenge viewers perception of how space in a rapidly growing city is created and understood by creating new material structures with waste by looking at systems of nature. This is not to battle entropy but on the contrary, to embrace it showing it’s repressed potentials in an urban context.

The forms of the Sediment Spores are derived from the behaviors of its constructors. A study of Bacillus pasteurii movements and actions(a sand calcifying bacteria that is able to turn sand into solid stone in a 24 hour period) created emergent forms from our Java based 3D algorithmic visual script. The resulting forms are scaled up and placed onsite to accommodate the proper amount of energy storage to serve a large enough audience as well as the amount of incoming excavated building soil from development growth.

Excavated soil from building development as well as the increase of sewage systems necessary both contribute to Sediment Spores production. By placing sand molds created from the emergent forms on Site 3, dumping excavated soil in them and adding calcifying bacteria with urine(urea is a key component of urine and is a key component in the bacteria’s calcifying process) the project parallels the process of Large Glass but on the scale of the city. When the city grows so does our project. The resulting complex and organic patterning allows for multiple spatial features, incremental growth with the Abu Dhabi’s development, and different animal habitats which allowing for public viewing and interaction while performing as a solar energy harvesting and compressed air energy storage for thousands of homes.

The project Sediment Spores proposes a new layering of soil in the AUE’s rich geographical setting. Like Duchamp and Smithson, the project takes the waste of a fast growing city (the newest geological layer) and uses its inherent characteristics of it creating an unique solar production landscape of compressed air energy storage and art. Additionally, the project speaks about today’s use of technology and energy in the everyday and in the art and design process by using Java based algorithmic scripting as a new drawing tool to generate multiple forms and solutions. The site specific project draws connections between past energy uses, contemporary building growth and future energy practice in order to augment the viewers thought about their everyday environment by revealing nature, growth, and energy in a different way.

low-res version PDF of submitted boards

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Fernanco Valderrama Garre, Andres Silanes Calonge, and Calos Bañon
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:
Global weather disturbances like global warming are proof that weather and climate are not impervious to human intervention. If we can alter the weather inadvertently – throught technological recklessness – we can also alter it willfully.

CLIMATE ART GENERATOR is what is trying to avoid, a human-induced climate change. It is contradictory, seemingly. Is a device that produces clean energy and generates a local climate change as an artistic experience. It is not produced by humans, just induced.

A great opportunity for us to rethink about the modern age culture of controlling everything. Weather is the center of a technological debate. Our cultural anxiety about the weather can be attributed to its unpredictability. As an expression of nature, the unpredictability of weather points out the limitations of technological culture. While advanced methods of detection and tracking help to warn and thus protect us from the ravages of nature, the weather is unstoppable. It’s beyond our control.

CLIMATE ART GENERATOR is not inspired by nature, is activated by nature. As a secondary expression of nature, hasn’t a constant shape. Is recursive, created by the weather and weather modifier. An alteration that unleashes a reaction.

It is the inflection point in a field of vectors. Form follows equation. It is mathematical. It has a maximum and a minimum. If stops, nothing happens. If nothing happens, stops. Can’t control it, just enjoy! It´s predictable as weather. It´s unpredictable as weather.

Activates human attraction to natural phenomena. Being local, concentrated, becomes tangible and therefore emotional. While changes in time, allows us to relate inputs and learn, an educational experience.

By avoiding CO2 emissions and cancelling their effects, is both preventive and active. Has a double positive impact. We use a hybrid strategy that combines global long term and a local short time consequences.

As a vertical windmill, it harnesses the kinetic energy of the wind to generate 1500kW of clean electricity. Doesn´t need to face into the prevailing winds, eliminating the need for a yaw mechanism. It works, but converting wind into electricity and transporting it means that a lot of energy is lost. In a more direct way, part of the energy generated is dedicated to pump sea water to the top, accumulating potential energy. There is no water accumulation. In a continuous process, water falls inside the blades accelerated by the force of gravity.

When you spray saltwater into the air, you create nuclei that cloud condenses around, creating bigger and whiter clouds, thus bouncing more sunlight back into space. The idea is to increase the amount of sunlight reflected back into space from the tops of thin, low-level clouds

Clouds are a key component of the Earth’s climate system. They can both heat the planet by trapping the longer-wavelength radiation given off from the Earth’s surface and cool it by reflecting incoming shorter wavelength radiation back into space. The greater weight of the second mechanism means that, on balance, clouds have a cooling effect.

A new type of oasis is created. As humidity rises, vegetation can colonize the plot. Mangrove trees grow in tropical and subtropical areas. With the natural availability of these shrubs in several coastal areas in the UAE, they can reduce desertification impacts.

Nobody knows the size of the CLIMATE ART GENERATOR. It´s as big as the effects that produces. It’s not dangerous but doesn’t seem safe. Is shaped like a catastrophe, but provides benefits.

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Michael Jantzen
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:
My design inspiration for site number two comes from a conceptual symbolic representation of the micro energetic interaction between photons of sunlight, and the release of electrons within photovoltaic cells, which in turn form electricity. This energetic interaction is symbolically represented for this competition as a large, pragmatic, scalable, abstract, three dimensional, stimulating and challenging form, capable of capturing energy from the sun, and converting it into electricity for the local community.

The basic structure would be constructed from a series of prefabricated panels, each fitted with a steel support frame, and covered with a colored concrete composite skin. These panels can be added or subtracted in order to scale the structure up or down and/or to change the shape at any time.

Minimal negative environmental impact is anticipated with this design because of the small amount of structure actually touching the ground. Also a minimal amount of foundation should be required with most of the land under the structure left open for human and animal passage.

An appropriate number of the south-facing panels would be covered with shadow tolerant, non-glass, high temperature performance photovoltaic film made by the Uni-Solar company. All of these panels are placed high enough on the structure so the visitors cannot reach them. In full sunlight with full exposure, the solar panels could generate approximately ten thousand watts of electrical energy for the local grid. I chose to harness energy from the sun with my structure since the sun is the most abundant form of alternative energy at the site, and is certainly symbolic of the desert environment in which the Solar Energy Field would be placed.

I think that those who visit the structure would see it as an amazing apparition or mirage in the desert that would soon become a world-known tourist destination. In addition, it would function as an oasis sheltering the visitors from the hot sun. Some of the lower panels of the structure fold out in different ways in order to provide places to sit or lie. There is also a stairs (leading to a viewing platform) built in under the structure so people can actually climb up into the Solar Energy Field for a better view of it and the surrounding landscape.

Two of the panels that form the structure fold out in different direction along the ground and become pathways leading visitors to and from the Solar Energy Field with access off of the main highway that connects Yas Island to Saadiyat Island.

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Solar Biennale

Ross Hamilton
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:
Dubai owes much of its current success to the discovery of oil offshore in the late 1960’s. A spike in oil prices during the 1970’s was the spark that ignited Dubai’s economic boom. Today, global oil consumption has risen steadily as more and more people gain access to new technologies. Developing countries are becoming industrialized and are demanding their share of the global oil reserves, while long time users are increasing their demands daily. Because of this the world’s oil reserves are being depleted at a fantastic rate. It is believed that peak oil production will occur in 2020. From this point on, oil production will steadily decline; and oil consumption must eventually do the same.

Dubai is already turning the focus away from its oil history and toward its global future. Oil now accounts for only 6% of its total revenue. Dubai’s desire for a global presence has been the cause for an almost manic development. A desert oasis has grown out of nothing to host some of the world’s most astounding monuments and most advanced technological achievements. Designed as a tourist destination, Dubai has no problem drawing people in, but there is still a missing sense of legitimacy. The U.A.E. is becoming an arts and culture center through the use of boutique museums and cultural icons.

This is Dubai’s opportunity to create a new arts center just outside the city. Following the model of the Venice Biennale, this project proposes a biennial exhibition be created in Dubai. However, this exhibition will not be a limited participation biennale that is overly focused on western culture, but an open art exhibition where global artists can be exhibited and discovered. Artists are beginning to test the different ways in which art can be defined and because of this, new forms of art are emerging. These exhibition spaces will be set up to display new forms of multimedia art and solar art rather than traditional forms. There is an overall rethinking of the relationship between art and energy taking place, and this is the moment when a Solar Biennale would be a welcome addition.

This proposal implements a system of nodes derived from a mapping of the top 100 oil consuming countries in the world. This map will provide a basis for both the biennial pavilions at ground level, and the solar canopy that powers the spaces. The ground-level pavilions will compose the Solar Biennale, and will serve to house the multimedia presentations on the site. The overhead solar canopy will provide shade for the pavilions and event spaces while producing energy to be redistributed to the grid or used on-site. The pavilions and installations will be able to plug directly into the surface for power. The surface will be composed of four different types of solar panels: a “traditional” blue solar panel, opaque and monolithic; red solar film, transparent and flexible; grey solar fabric, opaque and flexible; and light blue solar units, transparent and modular.

Over time, as the oil use throughout the world changes, the map will have to be redrawn. As the world oil supply begins to dwindle; alternative fuels will become more common, and countries will begin to move away from the use of crude oil. The solar network that exists on the site will shrink gradually as oil consumption is reduced. This will invest the site with a sense of dynamism which will encourage people to come visit again and again as time passes, especially as oil use nears zero. When oil consumption finally dwindles to zero and the last solar panel is removed from the site, the world will celebrate its long awaited freedom from oil. With the removal of the last pavilion, media art is fully integrated into society, and the next land-art generator initiative is born.

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Solar Flock

Katja Virta and Niko Knappe
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:
The Solar Flock represents a bird flock bathing in the sun, ruffling their feathers.

The Solar Flock acts as a middle ground between the built landscape and internationally acknowledged Ras Al Khor wetlands area, between the human ecologies and the natural habitats of diverse species.

Solar panels are arranged in a form that resembles folded paper birds. It makes a reference to ancient wisdom, art, nature, science and even building. Instead of the high tech esthetics often employed in solar energy installations, the Solar Flock has a very simple and lean esthetic quality.

The flock of solar birds, bathing in the hot sun, signals the environmentally conscious efforts of Dubai in environmental protection and creation of ecological human habitats.

This array of human made nature is surrounded by huge building projects like Lagoon, Business District and Dubai culture district. The Flock acts as a landmark of Ras al Khor, and as a reminder of the wild nature.

Birds are constructed of three dimensional planes that have larger solar area efficiency compared to regular plane mounting. Large enough areas are used with thin semi transparent solar photovoltaics where as other planes act as a light reflecting and strengthening material. The alignment of birds is designed according to sun trajectory and wings follow the sun by simple 1-axis movement. Light sensors on bird heads will detect sun angle and direction.

One energy storage unit connects all birds and stores enough energy to light up birds during the dark, distributing the rest to the grid during the day. The darker it gets, the brighter the birds will become.

The Solar Flock installation is scalable, so that the flock can grow larger when needed. Also the type of birds can be varied, or more efficient species can be installed over time, according to the development of solar technology.

Birds are constructed around metal frames, that are sturdy enough to survive high wind & storm conditions. Surface material is semi transparent reflective photovoltaic thin film that let’s decorative LED lighting pass trough. System uses well known and tested photovoltaic based renewable energy production.

The installation profile is fairly low, so it leaves the views open to the shore. There are no visible technical installations needed, the electrical mains can be hidden underground. Cabling goes inside the ground through birds’ legs all the way to the energy storing unit.

Since the ground area needed for structures is minimal and the works are moderately light weighted, it does not require land clearing or other major land works.

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