bLAGI HOME · January 2011

January 2011

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A big thank you to Masdar for supporting LAGI through sponsorship of the first prize award, hosting the winning team in Abu Dhabi, and for presenting the project in such an amazing way to the world.


Dr. Nawal Al Hosany, Associate Director of Sustainability at Masdar presented the prize award at the ceremony

From left to right: Adrian P. De Luca, Robert Flottemesch, Johanna Ballhaus, and Robert Ferry

Reuben Andrews (with Dubai Electricity and Water Authority) and Robert Ferry

Elizabeth Monoian and Roger White


The winning team poses in front of the images of Lunar Cubit and holds the award.

NY Times – Turbine-Free Wind Power from Antfood on Vimeo.

We think that there is a lot of potential for this combination of wind and piezoelectrics for public art installations.
More about Professor Francis Moon’s Vibro-Wind Research Team can be found here.

Prototype in action:

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And the winner is…

Lunar Cubit

Robert Flottemesch, Jen DeNike, Johanna Ballhaus, and Adrian P. De Luca
Designed for Site #3 in Abu Dhabi, on Airport Road near Masdar City.
FIRST PLACE AWARD WINNER


Design Submission for the 2010 Land Art Generator Initiative Design Competition

Lunar Cubit is a site specific proposal to be constructed in Abu Dhabi just outside Masdar City, the world’s first zero carbon metropolis once completed. Combining artistic vision with sustainable design and engineering, Lunar Cubit examines the nature of time through nightly contemplation of lunar phases and daily transformation of sunlight into electricity, powering up to 250 homes. Inspired by astronomy, quantum physics and the photoelectric effect, for which Einstein received the Nobel Prize in 1921, this work is open to the public, inviting a personal experience where one can literally reach out and touch a 1.74MW utility scale power plant, in the form of nine monolithic pyramids rising from the sands of Abu Dhabi.

Lunar means relating to or involving the moon and cubit is the name given to the oldest recorded units of length; employed though antiquity, the oldest cubit being the royal cubit, dating back to the Step Pyramid of Djoser circa 2,700 B.C.

Lunar Cubit is a timekeeper, a monthly calendar, allowing viewers to measure time through the eight lunar phases represented by a ring of eight pyramids encircling one central pyramid. All nine are proportional to the Great Pyramid of Cheops in Giza and scaled using the royal cubit but they’re not made from stone; they’re made of glass and amorphous silicon, giving them the appearance of onyx polished to a mirror finish. Supported from within, the façade of the pyramids is neatly seamless, like the face of a skyscraper, crisp against the heavens, reaching from base to tip, unbroken except for two silver streaks like rays of light scribing each face into two equal triangles and one diamond. Using frameless solar panels reduces embodied energy by nearly 30%, reducing time to be energy positive from seven years to five years. Around the pyramids flow natural stone paths in a repeating pattern that mirrors buried electrical cables, conducting electrons from the outer pyramids to the central pyramid where inside they are transformed into AC energy and transmitted to the Utility Grid. Co-locating walking paths and conduit runs minimizes the footprint of disturbed land during the construction allowing the maximum amount of natural ecosystem to remain untouched.

Nine pyramids resting on tan sand; encircled by distant trees; antiquity gilded with technology. Visitors are encouraged to walk amongst these clean power plants, beacons of science, rising to meet a hail of photons from 149 million kilometers away, traveling at the speed of light, to smash into electrons, jarring them free from their molecular bonds and channeling them into electricity. Day passes; a crown of shadows slides silently across the shrubs and sand as the sun rises and falls, moving across the sky and eventually disappearing below the horizon. Two pyramids begin to glow, rising in luminosity as twilight fades and the sky grows dark. Lunar Cubit illuminates inversely proportional to the lunar cycle and tonight is a new moon; white LED’s shine through thousands of tiny bands that are the cellular structure of amorphous silicon solar panels; creating a diffused glow that rises to become a solid pyramid of white light.

Accompanying the center pyramid is a corresponding outer pyramid, clearly marking the lunar phase like a number on the face of a clock. Inverted illumination creates a dance, an ebb and flow like the tides; pyramids of light reaching out to a hidden new moon and as the moon begins to shine, the pyramids recede, allowing moon light to fill the landscape. On the night of a full moon, only moonlight will trace a crown of silvery shadows across the desert floor until the following evening when the pyramids again begin to glow and the moon begins to fade; light forever rising and falling as the moon spins around earth, as the earth spins around the sun as the solar system spins around a massive black hole.

Located five kilometers from Abu Dhabi international airport, Lunar Cubit is visible from the air and creates a landmark, a destination for travelers to visit, relax and meditate. Nine pyramids form a ring matching near-by road structures, forming a symbol of infinity. Lunar cubit serves as a reference, a familiar sight like Big Ben or the Empire States Building, safe, comfortable and timeless as the sun and moon.

Generating electricity for 250 homes, is a perfect complement to Masdar City, a symbol of imagination and sustainability. Harnessing the power of the internet to reach a wider audience, Lunar Cubit utilizes data monitoring, connecting the system’s output and usage to a website that anyone can visit and see live information; how much energy is being generated, how much is being used by the LED lighting, what are the weather conditions and details about the site.
Follow this link for a demonstration.

Art and renewable power generation are expanding frontiers. Our world is changing and the pace of change is accelerating rapidly. Lunar Cubit is a portal between past and future, combining art and energy, welcoming us to step into the future.

low-res version PDF of submitted boards

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WindNest

Trevor Lee, Clare Olsen
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:
Simultaneously embedded in the landscape and floating in the air, WindNest is a macro scale land art installation that harnesses wind and sun energy for performative effects. The multi-stranded system grows from the subtle dunescape at the site, allowing for raised viewing platforms as well as erosion protection and habitat corridors. Hovering above and on the verge of take-off, a network of windsock turbines dynamically registers wind movement across the field, producing both energy and atmospheric effects.

The pragmatic, performative aspects of WindNest are provided through two means of energy collection. One third of the windsocks are covered with solar fabric. In addition, each of the windsocks is fitted with an energy collection turbine. The proposal utilizes low-impact, lightweight materials chosen in consideration of the full life-cycle of the project from material production to construction, maintenance and even after its role as a public art installation. Although the project covers a large area creating a big visual impact, the effects are achieved through humble means.

The nested elements are intended to be hand-woven by local craftspeople. Utilizing regionally harvested materials and human resources, the project proposes to engage the local craft economy, using natural materials and minimizing shipping, contributing to a low environmental footprint. Illusively thin carbon rods embedded in the ground as piles will tether a structural net composed of TENARA® (Teflon) fibers. The ropes, which are UV resistant, will ensure strength over time, but are incredibly thin, having an ethereal and lightweight presence.

low-res version PDF of submitted boards

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Michal Gdak and Ewelina Gorczynska
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 history of cities is mostly hidden in the ground. Ruins, foundations of destroyed buildings, or personal belongings of citizens are waiting through centuries to be discovered by archaeologists. In the case of Abu Dhabi, the sand is the witness to the rising of the new city.

The City Trace Generator is the appliance which provides the footprint of the Abu Dhabi and Dubai combined skylines to the land. On the 1.5 km strip is imprinted the form of the horizon on the earth.

The stark beauty of the site and its location along the road make it perfectly suited to the artwork and serve to underline the concept of the movable monument. The site provides the most important medium of the work, the sand.

The energy is generated by a solar updraft system. A 1.5 km strip of glass collector along both sides of the “trace” line stores the solar energy by super heating the air. The hot air rises up a tube chimney inside the monumental ring to toward cooler and less dense air above. This natural system of air circulation drives the turbines. The tube chimneys are located on the both sides of the City Trace Generator. The tubes are connected with the collector structure by the rails, which also support the 150 m high ring.

low-res version PDF of submitted boards

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Sun Drops

Marcin Sikora, Rozalia Kostka, Marco Tarzia, and Andrzej Chorazyczewski
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 sea and the desert: two gigantic forces in coexistence. Imaging the desert, first thing we see is a cold morning, when the sun starts its journey through the skyline and the sand is yet covered in the cold of the night. This is a very special time, when water in the form of the dewdrops begins to appear on the leaves of plants.

Sun Drops makes reference to this moment when water comes into being at the desert. Oval-shaped forms made of glass, placed directly on the sand, resemble dewdrops at daybreak. The character of the whole composition is strengthened by the nearness of the sea. Irregularly located installations, illuminated from the inside at night, recall the picture of pure diamonds, sparkling at night. From the bird’s eye view they bring to mind water that has just been spilled on the sand, still not soaked into the ground.

During the daytime, the Sun Drops change their character into glass domes, where hidden inside photovoltaic installations produce electricity. Glass forms, of which whole sphere is built, behaves like lenses, agglomerating and focusing light on the solar cells positioned inside. Produced energy is mostly transferred directly to the grid, but some is partially stored, so that it can be used to give power supply to illuminate the spheres at night.

low-res version PDF of submitted boards

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Art Sanctuary

Mehdi Sabet, Rami Alotaibi, Sulaf Aburas
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:
It is not enough to just ‘love nature’ or to want to ‘be in harmony with her. Our relationship to the natural world must occur in a place, and it must be grounded in information and experience. Art Sanctuary seeks to create an outside/inside design, which integrates nature and art into visitors’ lives. The site energy and forces offer clues to the creation of a tranquil realm where man and nature can coexist in harmony.

Inside and under, visitors experience an unfolding series of panoramic views, delighting the eye in every season and drawing the imagination deeper into the lagoon, the sky, and the flora and fauna. The design employs continuously undulating vertical/horizontal/diagonal art forms which span low and high grounds. The simple forms are composed of linear elements made of lightweight fiberglass tubes with exterior photovoltiacs.

Each houses identical micro-wind turbine units attached at one end to capture wind and to produce power that is stored in batteries below ground. The battery storage is then connected to the city power grid. Above the earth, Art Sanctuary is a public realm to accommodate place for meditation and contemplation, conversation and communication, engagement in art making and art installation, leisurely walking, observing nature and capturing moments of light/space/color.

low-res version PDF of submitted boards

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Solar Carpet

Futai Hiroyuki, Asai Hiroki, Murakami Chikako, Ookawa Syotarou, Sawada Kazuhiro, Fujimaki Naoki, Horie Syota, Mori Ryohei, Nakajima Yuji, Nogawa Taishi, Komatsu Kazuki, and Miyamoto Kazuyuki
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:
Drivers on the highway encounter a long skyline of the installation. One third of the total is deformed slightly and covered with a mist. The skyline evokes the image of a floating carpet.

The space under the carpet serves as a comfortable shade. The rays of the sun come from the random openings of the carpet, and variedly project on the white sandy soil. The horizontal pattern of openings is gradated from inside toward outside, which creates a smooth boundary between the installation and surroundings. With sensitivity to the environment and local ecosystems, 400,000 solar panels are placed over the land.

The public is restricted to the specific area with safety to view it. Under the carpet of that area, a viewing platform is formed on the hill by making maximum use of the existed geographical characteristics. At the top of the platform visitors have a view of the extensive solar carpet from above, on which a sea of mist clouds is wafting and wind power generators are rotating. The clouds of mist serve to cool down the hot solar panels. The wind power generators show reflections from their mirror surface and absorb sunlight energy on their phosphorescent surface.

During night, the luminous LED particles on the solar carpet welcome the tourists in cabin just before arriving at the Abu Dhabi International Airport. The twinkle led lights synchronize with wind velocities and visualize the real-time environmental shift. The wind power generators supply electricity to the LED lights. In addition, the phosphorescent surfaces of the generators emit blurred luminosity according to the amount of energy absorbed during the daytime.

low-res version PDF of submitted boards

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Lotus Garden

Chika Tsuchida
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:
Why does an artificial construction keep static? They persist in keeping static toward wind, rain, animals or human beings. Living nature reacts to external stimulation. Can we shake and breathe an artificial construction?

As the motif of the plant, I choose a lotus, one of a beautiful aquatic plant, and want to build an artificial lotus garden.
There are Organic Solar Cells on the surfaces of these lotus leaves, and they create electrical energy. Lotuses bend and wave in the wind. A stem of lotus keeps vertical. But when wind blows, it bends like a bamboo. TPE (Thermoplastic Elastomers) and stainless steel springs make this movement possible. The stems are hollow and house electrical wiring.
The leaves are also made of TPE, and water-proofed on the surface. They are as thin and as long as possible, and swing in wind and weight of rain. TPE is a recyclable and durable material that is fit for the harsh conditions of the site.

At the site under the water, lotus leaves float on the surface. These leaves don’t use stainless steel, and stand up via their buoyancy.

Organic Solar Cells are 1/10 the cost of common inorganic solar cells, require less embodied energy to produce and are non-toxic to the environment.

This lotus form has the merit in its construction: It doesn’t need to level without foundation, and it makes possible minimum ground level and maximum solar panel space.

An old Chinese proverb says “Lotus grows in the mud but never become muddy itself”. It is known as a symbol of virtue and pureness and is a suitable motif for a clean energy plant.

low-res version PDF of submitted boards

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Tanzim Hasan Salim
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 inspiration from fractals is derived from concerns both aesthetic and pragmatic. Not only do they create interesting geometries and patterns, but they also give a practical advantage by increasing a surface area of a form.

Fractal geometry is a field that mixes art with mathematics to demonstrate that equations are more than just a collection of numbers. What makes fractals even more interesting is that they are the best existing mathematical descriptions of many natural forms, such as mountains, biological structures, and coastlines (such as that which runs along the site of the artwork). Using fractal geometries in the planning and organization not only generates more electricity than a non fractal linear arrangement but also become more contextual to the site.

The structural stiffness of the inclined structures supporting the photovoltaic panels can also be increased as the concrete pylons form together a type of folded-plate structure. As a whole the project represents nature’s microcosm at a human scale. It is a celebration of nature and technology.

The pylons are oriented to maximize efficiency by properly adjusting each photovoltaic panel to an optimum angle & also by eliminating segments of concrete panels that fall into shadow zones. The total master plan would also incorporate fractals as pathways and landscaping elements.

At night, these concrete inclined pylons become illuminated creating interesting silhouettes. These strokes of light are monumental as observers pass by the highways and stand as iconic art at a regional scale.

low-res version PDF of submitted boards

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