· September 2012

September 2012

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Electric Meadow

Electric Meadow
Submission to the 2012 Land Art Generator Initiative NYC design competition

Artist Team: Andrea Legge, R. Murray Legge AIA, Deborah Eve Lewis, Jaime A. Castro (P.E., LEED AP, CEM, CxA S-E-A, Limited)
Artist Location: New York City, Houston & Austin TX, USA

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Artist Descriptive Text:

Electric Meadow is a safe, scalable kinetic sculpture that is sited within a tall wild meadow, such as the Dry and Moist Prairies proposed in the Fresh Kills Park draft master plan. There are areas of both of these landscapes proposed within the boundaries of the LAGI Fresh Kills competition site. An array of tall, thin steel rods sway in the breeze, anchored at their bases through low cylindrical metal housings hidden by tall meadow grasses. Within the rugged housings are simple generators that make use of the movement of the rods as they sway in the wind. A sensitive pivot-return spring mechanism, along with the tensile qualities of the rods themselves, ensures a sustained, pendulum-like movement once activated. The rod/generators would be sited and oriented to make the most use of prevailing winds at the site. At the tops of the rods are small steel shapes designed to catch the wind. (Further developments for the tops could include 3-dimensional housings for micro generators that use wave-motion technology to generate small amounts of electricity. Also, developing the rod itself from piezoelectric materials may be considered.) The rods will mimic the movements of natural tall grasses, animated by wind, birds and people.

The general design of Electric Meadow is vastly scalable in both height and number of rods, able to accommodate a variety of contingencies with regard to topsoil thickness, siting, budgets, proximity of other park amenities, etc.. The array can be evenly or randomly spaced, and rods can be placed at varying widths apart from one another. The project could appear as a dense random ‘mutant meadow’, or as a more ordered array of analogous kinetic sculptures. The project can be sited all in one area or in smaller patches throughout the competition site, perhaps placed near to trail lighting which it could power. Electric Meadow can be placed on a slope. The footing stems can be modified to keep rods plumb. The length of the ‘stem’, which attaches the generator to the footing, is adjustable, so that generator cylinders clear snow drifts in winter and are hidden by grasses in summer. Units can be arrayed in such a way as to create trails through them, providing access so visitors can sway the rods and create power themselves. Or the project can be sited in more wild habitats, as described in the Environmental Impact paragraph. Electric Meadow is quiet except for the breeze sounding through the rods, and largely unobtrusive.

Generator, Electrical System Overview & Power Generation
The electrical system for Electric Meadow consists of a typical renewable power system that will resemble a wind and solar system configuration. The system will consist of direct current (DC) wiring connected to each small-scale generator. A group of individual units connected together will form one circuit known as a ‘string’. The strings are then collected at a DC Combiner box that acts as an electrical panelboard for each individual circuit and protects each circuit with a fuse. The box also has a main disconnect switch. These protection devices are required by the National Electric Code 2011 Article 694: Small Wind Systems. From the combiner boxes, the power then is connected to a DC to AC Power Inverter which converts the Electric Meadow-generated power to a usable form. This power is then connected to electric loads such as park lighting, kiosks, or can be used to charge a battery bank for stored power. Small combiner boxes can be placed unobtrusively at the head of each string, hidden by tall grasses.

Electric Meadow is easily scaled. It can consist of a few, or several numbers of strings. Studies on the development of small-scale generators have shown promising results. For instance, using the mean wind speed of 6.35 m/s at Fresh Kills, and based on the study of micro generators performed by BQ Energy LLC, between April 2006 through May 2007, neglecting efficiency and other power losses, 1 unit could produce at least 1.1-Watts of power if it is able to sway 100,000 times in a 24-hour period. The 10-volt generator proposed within each cylindrical housing in Electric Meadow is compatible with such a micro generator. Each individual rod/generator unit has an estimated annual production of approximately 452 Kwh, and an array of units covering just 100-square-feet can produce at least 110-watts of usable power.

Rhizome Footings
Each rod/generator is anchored in the ground by a shallow array of pipe-feet that stabilize the rod upright and also act as the conduit to carry wiring. Each footing array necessarily attaches to the next rod and the next, and, once covered with earth, a strong and stable underground system is created, much like rhizome roots of real meadow grasses. The stem height is adjustable, so generators can be hidden by grasses in summer and clear snowdrifts in winter.

Environmental Impact
Electric Meadow presents an interactive power generating system that is human in scale and carries very little environmental impact once constructed. Regarding construction: The Fresh Kills Park: Lifescape draft master plan recommends ‘renovation’ of the mounds within the competition area: A Major Project in Phase 1 cites ‘Soil improvements and native meadow planting on 240 acres in North and South Parks’. Another section of the master plan mentions the DSNY ‘revegetating the landfill cap cover’. Strip farming is also mentioned as a way to further build up the quality and quantity of the mound soils. While Electric Meadow’s shallow footings allow for installment now, if the project were to be permanent, it would be more practical to install in conjunction with renovation of the mound site.

Unlike other forms of small wind energy generators, Electric Meadow will present no danger to wildlife and will actually enhance the habitat for certain meadow and wetland bird species. Some of the rods could host light bird boxes or feeders, and some could have short perches, or arrays of perches that support a nest. The project is silent except for the sound of the breeze through the rods, and presents graceful, random movement. The formal effects produced by Electric Meadow blend well with the sounds and movements of the surrounding natural environment.


Submission to the 2012 Land Art Generator Initiative NYC design competition

Artist Team: Jason Shannon, Paola Yanez
Artist Location: Jersey City, USA

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Artist Descriptive Text:

The concept of an energy producing sculpture is certainly a step in the right direction towards energy sustainability and public awareness. But energy sustainability is just part of a broader idea of mankind’s struggle to sustain themselves with the limited resources we have on our planet. Simply put, all these sustainable or “green” ideas are our attempt to find balance with nature.

This last winter, there was an article in the NY Times that described a surprise sighting of a possum on the NYC subway. It was a good example of how awkward our built environment has made the existence of plants and animals that have thrived in this area for thousands of years. Yes, man has built great things, but we have also destroyed much of the natural ecosystem for sprawling suburbs, strip malls, and parking lots. Our mentality toward the natural environment has been to take everything we can get our hands on. Our proposal suggests that mankind’s strategy should be based more on mutual respect, because we need nature more than it needs us.

Our proposal for the LAGI competition is the Fresh Kills Coaster. First and foremost it is a wild life refuge. The project designates a section of the Fresh Kills park to be off limits to visitors to give plants and animals the freedom to exist unmolested. The site location was chosen to connect to a larger green area surrounding Fresh Kills. In many ways, building nothing makes sense if preserving nature were the only goal, but it would be unrealistic to think that our sustainability problems will be resolved simply by doing nothing.

The physical aspects of the Fresh Kills Coaster were derived from two ideas. First, that the people of Staten Island have been burdened with a landfill for decades and deserve the ability to experience the Fresh Kills park, and second, with the goals of producing sustainable energy to add power to the local community. In order to give people access to the area designated as a preserve, a raised platform is imagined to separate people from nature. Added to the idea of a raised platform is the need to create sustainable energy. Solar collectors have proven to be both passive in terms of their impact on nature and also effective in producing energy. To be most efficient, solar collectors are ideally sloped toward the sun’s predominate direction to absorb the most solar radiation. The combination of a raised platform and the sloped surface desired for the solar cells resulted in the Fresh Kills Coaster. In this case, the sloped surface used to optimize the solar cells not only added the functionality of the project but also the experiential qualities. The rased platform becomes a challenging climb, akin to a mountain to be conquered. At the same time, the coaster platform becomes the perfect opportunity to incorporate the kinetic converters from the PaveGen corporation. Throughout the coaster, people can use there own bodies to add to the energy creation of the project, literally making people part of the solution.

The materiality of the coaster is predominately anodized aluminum. Not only will the aluminum of the coaster contain a significant amount of recycled content, but the skin will be fully recyclable once the life cycle of the project ends. This is similar to the other main component of the project, the steel structure, which can also be fully recycled. The running surface of the coaster is a special product made by Nike that uses old sneakers that are ground up and reconstituted into an athletic surface. Finally the project is designed to be prefabricated which minimizes the construction time on site and the subsequent impact on the natural environment.

The Fresh Kills Coaster turns what is normally a simple path in a park into an iconic experience that will get people talking about Fresh Kills, energy production, and ecology.



Submission to the 2012 Land Art Generator Initiative NYC design competition

Artist Team: Amir Kripper, Michael Grogan, Christopher Li, Kristen Barrow, Alena Parunina
Artist Location: Boston, USA

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Artist Descriptive Text:


The proposal for the Freshkills Park is a “Loop” that aims to dissolve the traditional boundaries between landscape, architecture, public art and renewable energy infrastructure. The project, located on the North Park, consists of a two hundred foot wide boardwalk, articulated by a number of vertical elements on which a system of flexible solar panels are mounted. Through a series of ramped manipulations, the installation corresponds to the unique topography of the site, mediating the slopes of the hill and providing spectacular vistas of the entire park.

The generous circular path loosely defines a journey while serving as a framework transitioning between the new and existing landscape. Along the walkway, a system of circular planters, that vary from five to sixty feet in diameter, are planted with indigenous flowers, plants and trees of Staten Island as well as exotic ones. In addition, circular pools collect rain water and the Loop foundation provides a runoff break allowing filtered water to return to the creek. The structure of the loop is articulated with steel I beams, or “ribs”, every fifty feet, supported by a light concrete mat foundation on grade. The flexible solar panels are arranged on a metal mesh with steel cables that span between the ribs.

A large open amphitheater is integrated into the wooden pathway, which can accommodate large events and live performances. The Loop is able to host diverse cultural, social and athletic activities year around as well as providing a unique space for learning, relaxing and playing.

2.Solar Energy

We based our calculation on the assumption that 1 MW of power will supply the energy needs of up to 1,000 homes with each home using about 10,000 kWh per year. A 1 MW utility grade solar plant will require about 6 acres of land. The installation will require 1 to 2 inverters (transformers) to convert the DC power from the solar panels into AC for household use and to safely connect to the local power grid. Inverters are designed for up to 1 MW. A second inverter is advisable given the size of this proposal in order to spread the inversion activity since inverters have to be replaced around every 10 years.

This proposal incorporates flexible lightweight solar energy modules on a metal mesh attached to steel cables spanning between the ribs. The installation is able to provide electricity to more than 1,200 homes. In addition to generating renewable energy, the 6.8 acres of flexible solar panels operate as a shading device for the walkway. The upper portion of the ribs are incrementally angled in order to optimize solar exposure at different orientations and the lower portion varies in accordance to the topography of the site.

3.Environmental Impact Statement

This proposal responds to the brief in terms of creating a macro installation that interacts creatively with the general public while generating large amounts of clean energy. However, its great size and scale, impacts the existing environment. In order to mitigate the effects of water runoff, circular planters placed on the walkway will collect the rain water which is filtered and returned to the creek. Also, special consideration was taken in preserving the integrity of the landfill cap as well as the hill by conceiving the installation as a light metal structural framework on a light concrete foundation mat on grade.

4. Summary

The goal for the Loop, ultimately, is to become a transformative experience where visitors are inspired after discovering the installation and engaging with the amazing views of Fresh Kills Park and Staten Island at large. Moreover, the aim is to establish the installation as a learning facility where the visitors interact with state of the art technology and renewable energy while discovering a new built environment. The Loop will be a unique place, a landmark, a sculpture in the landscape not only providing clean energy for New York City but engaging the public in the reinvented Fresh Kills Park in an unprecedented way.


Join us on September 23 for Sneak Peak at Freshkills Park. The event takes place from 11am-4pm and has activities for all ages and interests.

We will have many of the LAGI 2012 submissions on display and will be handing out free copies of a “Field Guide to Renewable Energy Technologies”.

We hope to see you there. Let’s go fly a kite!

The below text is from NYC Parks & Recreation website:

Sneak Peak at Freshkills Park is presented by the Freshkills Park Alliance, the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, and the NYC Department of Sanitation, with support from Pratt Industries, The Home Depot, The Council on the Arts & Humanities for Staten Island, The College of Staten Island, Wagner College, Showplace Entertainment Center, the Hilton Garden Inn, M & R Hotel Group, The Lower East Side Ecology Center.

Pony Rides will provide a preview of future equestrian actiivites and facilities at the park. Ponies are provided by First Place Ponies.

Kayaking will begin at 11:00 a.m. Registration for available kayaks will happen on-site starting 15 minutes before each tour begins. No outside kayaks allowed. Support for kayak tours is provided by:

Kayak Staten Island, an all-volunteer organization that provides free kayaking for the public from South Beach in Staten Island.

Long Island Community Boathouse, which provides western Queens residents, employees, and visitors with educational and recreational paddling programs. The all-volunteer programs raise awareness about estuary ecology with the goal of restoring the natural beauty and health of New York Harbor.

Bird watching will be guided by The Staten Island Museum, founded in 1881 and home to more than two million artifacts and specimens. This “mini-Smithsonian” is rich with arts, natural sciences and local history.

Kite Making and Kite Flying will take place at the top of the North Mound. Free kite-making kits will be provided. All kites are welcome!

Goats, offering a preview of sustainable weed management herds at Freshkills Park.

Model Airplane Demonstration provided by the Staten Island RC Modelers.

Puppet Parade, led by Emma Wiseman, will be taking place at 12 p.m. and 3 p.m.

The Freshkills Park Layar Smartphone App, developed with information architecture consultants Med44, provides description, media and links for places visible in the landscape, to users of iPhone 4 and Android phones.

The Lower East Side Ecology Center (LESEC) will be collecting e-waste–unwanted or broken electronics?from event visitors in the event parking area. A list of acceptable materials can be found here. Electronics will be accepted from households and small businesses (less than 50 employees, please call ahead) as well as not-for-profits. LESEC does not accept home appliances such as microwaves, refrigerators, or air conditioners.

NYC DOT Bicycle Helmet Fitting, NOTE: You must be present to get fitted and receive a helmet and learn how to properly fit it. A parent or legal guardian must be present to sign a waiver for children under age 18 being fitted to receive a helmet. Adults over age 18 must sign a waiver to get fitted and receive a helmet.

The Home Depot will lead visitors in constructing birdhouses that they may take home after the event.

The New York City Department of Sanitation will offer information about the Fresh Kills Landfill and citywide Sanitation operations.

GrowNYC’s Office of Recycling, Outreach and Education will provide recycling education and lead visitors in the Recycling Game.

Materials for the Arts will lead visitors through workshops constructing wind toys with discarded material from its non-profit storehouse in Queens.

The NYC Compost Project will offer education and tips on home composting.

Partnerships for Parks

Sims Recyclarium

Land Art Generator Initiative

Staten Island Zoo

Municipal Art Society

Solar One will provide tips on home and office energy efficiency.

MillionTreesNYC will provide education about its initiative to plant and care for one million new trees across the City’s five boroughs over the next decade.

The Council on the Arts and Humanities for Staten Island will share information about upcoming arts and culture events and programs on Staten Island.

The Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) will exhibit its Sewer in a Suitcase, a portable demonstration of New York City’s wastewater management system constructed through an semester-long, artist-led youth investigation. Demonstrations will take place every half hour from 11:15 a.m. to 3:45 p.m..

The College of Staten Island (CSI) Farming Group will offer a tasting of produce grown at the farm at CSI as well as a hands-on crafts workshop.

Fresh Kills Stories, part of an on-going oral history project, will record audio of visitors’ stories and reflections about the former Fresh Kills Landfill, the site today, and the future Freshkills Park.

The Center for Architecture Foundation will lead visitors through a design a park activity.

AnyaEve hand dyes and paints silk scarves.

Olga Ayala specializes in original, fully functional home decor items and wearable art (jewelry) made of polymer clay. Each piece is individually handcrafted and is a unique piece of art.

Margaret Mascullo

Naked Sheep

By Renee

Sunset Hill Design

Carmelo’s Brick Oven Pizza, serving handmade, wood-fired brick oven pizza.

Staten Island Iceman, offering 22 flavors of Italian ices and 6-8 flavors of ice cream.

Morris Grilled Cheese

Desi Food Truck

Go Burger Truck

Cupcake Stop

Kathy Westwater, will be performing an original work at 1 p.m.

Mierle Laderman Ukeles, “The Social Mirror” (1983)


On Thursday October 25 we will be announcing the winning submissions for LAGI 2012. Please join us for an exhibition of many of the submissions and a celebration at SOHO Gallery for Digital Art in NYC.

The event will be begin at 7pm with an announcement at 7:30pm.

It will be a terrific opportunity to meet many of the jurors and teams, and is sure to be a lovely evening.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a calendar in front of you. We’ll be sending out an e-vite in a couple of weeks and we will definitely remind everyone of the date!


In Between Scapes of Light
Submission to the 2012 Land Art Generator Initiative NYC design competition

Artist Team: Carmen Bakanitsch, Christoph Walter Pirker
Artist Location: Graz, Austria

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Artist Descriptive Text:

In Between Scapes of Light is the title of a draft for a piece of land on Staten Island, an island off New York City. Until the end of the 1940s this land was marked by an intact ecosystem and a large variety of species which had developed into a biologically very diverse sanctuary. This was mainly due to the marshland of Fresh Kills, which is formed by the River Arthur Kills that separates Staten Island from New Jersey.

In the course of urban development planning a rubbish dump called Fresh Kills Landfill was established in this area which in size had been increasing steadily since then. By 2001 it had reached such dimensions that with its 150 million tons of waste dumped there it could be referred to as the world’s biggest rubbish dump.

A large part of its original vegetation got destroyed and its sensitive environment became polluted by both unfiltered heavy metals that got into the Kills and an almost globally relevant amount of gases released by the dump.

In 2001 the Fresh Kills Landfill was closed and the question arose as to how to make use of that land in the future. After the landfill had been opened again in autumn 2001 to dump the debris of the World Trade Center and recycle the waste material there, landscape architects from Field Operations presented a draft planning to transform the dump into a park landscape about 2.5 times the size of Central Park within the next 30 years.

One part of the planned park comprises the area of the competition for the Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI).

The key point of our draft is to respond in every respect to the so diverse landscape which until a few years ago had been an object of demonstration for both a mega-consuming lifestyle as well as an ecologically diversified landscape.

The whole area is determined by a sealed surface of technoid shape. It is, however, not this surface character, not the intention to coldly force on this a superficial architectural mark that forms the principle of our work. It is just not possible to provide a simple and universally valid architectural answer to respond to this complex context. By using the minimal, seemingly simple element of the line, we are trying to approach this landscape. In doing this we always pay attention to our feelings.

Before one draws a line, one always has to first find the meaning of it. This meaning does not lie so much in the element of the line itself but results from the most thorough interpretation of life’s questions, from what we in our draft regard as vital for ourselves and for each individual that comes in contact with this work.

Identity. Atmosphere. Peculiarity. Light. Space. The response to the location, its history, which must never be erased, which one must never force a new surface on – this plays the key role not only in our own architectural way of thinking and feeling. We do not appreciate getting control over a landscape by means of any mediocre surface structure formed by just placing a series of objects in it.

Architecture, landscape architecture, is what one just cannot get under control. In order to understand and be able to respond to the specific location, it first has to be inhaled, it must become part of you, part of oneself. We are trying to get into the sensitive character of this location.

In this process we are developing the element of the line. A line it is meant to be that draws, creates space. A line that winds, bends, runs and stands still. A line that disappears, hides, surprises, thuds, beats, divides, connects, caresses. A line that is tender, brute, defiant, brave, square, light as a feather, clear, glittering, colourless, glowing.

We want to create a line that is atmospherically as dense as the blackest black, dense as the brightest purple chrome. A line that allows man to hear the wind blow.

Aiming to achieve this goal we cannot regard a line as just a two-dimensional object but as an element that is seeking space.

Based on recent research studies the volume of the line is formed by millions of extremely thin solar threads, optical-fiber-based 3D Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells. The solar threads arrayed in a distance of 10 centimetres from each other form the proportions of our line: a depth of 5 metres and a height of 10 metres.

Then we will further increase this atmospheric density by employing additional elements of line. We place them in front and behind each other, make them interfere and form relations with each other, thus creating not only spaces within the volume itself, but spaces, spaces in-between, spaces as a result of adding more such lines.

Thus the lines are not set into the landscape as mere objects but in powerful gestures that seeking space refer to themselves, to man, to the wide open of the location, grasping it and responding to it.

The architectural structure consists of four levels which influence each other: Topography, Atmosphere, Context and Structure. All these four levels in this draft correspond with each other and cannot exist without one another: there cannot be any Context without Topography, any Atmosphere without Structure and neither any Atmosphere without Topography or Context.

The solar threads, the essential part of the Atmosphere, are fixed on the Structure which appears from the outside as the narrow horizontal finishing upper part. This plate also serves to support the system as a static reinforcement and a means to transport the energy generated by the solar threads.

The solar threads do not touch the ground but keep a distance of one metre to it as if waiting for an answer.Time will give the answer when the Atmosphere forms a vertical symbiosis with the Topography, when top and bottom, culture and nature get together and unite.

Wind will show its never-ending choreography while fine threads are covering the face of the one that has entered into a dialogue with this work, with these lines. The creative elements — Topography, Context, Atmosphere and Structure – get to lie on each other, become one.

It is the making use of this seemingly so simple element of line, the resorting to the fundamental questions of architecture, the searching for an answer as to what architecture can and must do for us that gives us the creative response to Fresh Kills.

In addition to this, a certain percentage of optical fibers will be integrated in our lines. Emitting a colourfully fluorescent glow they – in conjunction with the poetry of the wind, the colour and the structure – try to form an atmosphere, which we cannot influence and which up to now we have only been hoping for.

Our proposal is not to be thought of in terms of categories, but in terms of a comprehensive holistic view. It may not be of great relevance that the energy produced by all these solar threads meets the demand for energy of 483 New York households. It may not be of great relevance that we do not interfere with the existing natural environment. But what is of relevance to us is to draft a poetic concept by way of listening and answering and bring this place and its history to people’s minds.

No, it is not only the holistic character of this proposal named In Between Scapes of Light but its aim to create something totally new, the aim to explore new limits and chances. But apart from that this proposal is nothing more than a human-anthroposophical idea of space: a response to landscape that – focusing on the atmospheric effects of the quality of life and social qualities and including the aspect of innovative application of sustainable energy production – forms its strong identity from its sensitive approach to the location.



Submission to the 2012 Land Art Generator Initiative NYC design competition

Artist Team: Elcin Ertugrul, Katherine Moya, Carlos Alegria, Joaquin Boldrini
Artist Location: New York City, USA

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Artist Descriptive Text:


Fresh Kills Park, given its fragile connotation and character it’s perceived as a crystal-likeplace for any physical intervention, like a balloon close to a needle, it requires a surgical or gentle approach to any proposal. The thick layered condition of its soil, waste, soil, becomes a natural generator of layers that accumulate over time giving insights of what an energy device should operate on this specific site. The proposal aims to add a new soft layer of energy/wild life support that brings life into the site over the existent condition and fulfilling the broken ecosystem cycle that was in place pre-landfill times.


For us the starting point for this challenging project was how to become part of the construction process of a new landscape. The answer may reside on the key word of PROCESS; it will require then a method, a means of growth to support the REGENERATION of a new landscape, a new aesthetic that also embraces the underground condition of the site. For us it will require an ethereal ally, a gentle sentinel system which aim is to PURIFY the ecosystem by means of the substratum enrichment and also by switching the meaning of the park into a positive realm. The CLOUD symbolizes the transitional state of a park at its embryonic phase, in a more abstract approach a CLOUD is the matter of all matters, condensed water as a basic knowledge; it’s also the most common natural element in our everyday life, constantly mutating shapes and moods, seeing as providers of life with rains and sun shade, playing a crucial role in our ecosystem, balancing the environments with their presence.

CloudFields is conceived as a living device in it-self, evolutionary per-se, a living sculpture instead of an object sculpture. The main purpose of the project is to restore the historic and original condition of the place, developing organic and sustainable skins on each of the cloud types, from solar applications to green layered skins with the aim to understand the sustainability on its holistic approach not only energy driven but even most important is to be engaged with the wild-life and ecosystem in all levels, where the fields are irrigated with organic matter that enriches the soil and therefore builds over time a new ecosystem that will reach its former maturity.

The modern sense of urban parks are directly linked with the habitat experience that can produce, and the future sense will be directly linked not only of the habitat and experience but also the energy it can produce, in that way the CloudFields will set a new paradigm of how a future urban park should behave, merging into one both realms. The direct relationship between sun and clouds makes them an ideal match for solar application as the energy strategy to go for. In overall, The CLOUDFIELDS are a dreamlike image that aims to shift the current negative perception that the community has from the Fresh Kills Landfill area into the positive realm.


The layout on site of the clouds define 3 main nodes at the top of the mounds, 1 node at the North Park and 2 nodes at the East Park (north and south end), linking all 3 nodes by a path of clouds where pedestrian activities are supporting the promenade of the site with sightseeing spots along the trail. This layout engages the initial master plan proposed for the whole Landfill site setting a framework to contemplate from any given point of the site and surroundings.These devices are set to be lifted from the ground plane to clear the eye level views and allocating the solar panels at a higher altitude for grteater solar radiance capture.

The distribution program is set in 6 different options, this gives the flexibility to adjust the quantities according to the required needs of the development, always keeping a balanced approach between human activities, energy supply and wild life support.


We propose 3 types of clouds addressing the programs that will support all the activities to occur at the park, from energy to wild-life specific, the Blue Cloud (solar energy – Large size), the Green Cloud (wild-life – Medium size), the White Cloud (shade activities – small size); these 3 devices will produce a synergy of events that will bring life to the project. Blue cloud: Large size (150x80x60 ft) aka mother cloud, the solar energy cloud, will supply energy back to the urban energy grid having a 0.18 acres approximate per cloud for solar panel surface (7,840 sqf aprox.) its metal structure diamond grid house solar panels that are wired through the steel post back to the central station. The solar panels are made of OPVC (organic photovoltaic plastic sheet) that will be applied over a PTFE TEFLON COATED FIBERGLASS tensed between the diamond grid. It is also half covered by creeper plants. Green cloud: Medium size (100x54x40 ft),home of wild-life and organic metabolism, fully covered by decidious vegetation (creeper plants) will give organic nutrition to the soil cap as its matter turn into compost during cold seasons. During warm seasons it will attract wild-life with its blossoms. The proposed bamboo diamond grid structure will mimic the organic growth degrading over the years and becoming part of the landscape. White cloud: Small size (75x40x30 ft), it is the shade-cloud, it provides shelter and covered area for events such as music, theater, picnic, etc. Made out of a metal structure diamond grid as the blue cloud, the skin is a tensed recyclable membrane that can collect rain or fog water for other site maintenances and irrigation of the soil. It operates as a spontaneous tent if needed. The multiple combination of these 3 clouds define clusters types that can be reproduced as many times the projects requires. To manage efficiencies and reduce construction cost they all share the same structural typology, using a diamond grid that defines its shape generated from a single module in various scales, they house all the features for each type so solar panels, planters, irrigation systems, etc. are part of the structure.


The ground structure is defined by strategic points for post anchors that ties back the diamond grid structure to a foot wall half buried on the 6’’ top soil cap to avoid harm to the landfill caps underneath, the foot walls will become benches or tables for the users in different areas, defining also an inner space under the clouds. The vertical steel posts are positioned in a non-Cartesian position to create a forest-like view scape that aims to blend with the future organic growth of the site.


Our main source of energy is the sun, therefore the selection of the solar panel to be applied has to relate to the easthetics of the project, structural constrains of the site and availabilityin the market. OPVC (Organic Photovoltaic Plastic Sheet) is a 3rd generation solar panel that complies with all these requirements, part of its properties are that has a 5%-10% eficiency in energy outcome, other advantages of the OPVC is that is a lightweigth material that minimizes the structural load for structural sizing, it has an inherent flexibility to be applied in complex geometrical surfaces, its translucency means that can also be applied over a ligth transmitting surfaces such as poly composed plastic membranes or glass; and finally it doesn’t require to be set on a fix angle due to its energy outcome requires the radiance precense of daylight (non direct sunlight). Since the panel surfaces are placed at the top of the cloud structure their radiance capturing performance is enhanced and secured of any casted shadows and obstruction.

The CloudField proposes 6 options of solar applications that ranges from a 10.8 acre min. to 16.2 acre max. According to wich setting is choosen for the final development. The energy that is provided by the solar panels will be sent to the urban grid and sold for park management income.


The Beauty of Recycling
Submission to the 2012 Land Art Generator Initiative NYC design competition

Artist Team: Daniel Elmore
Artist Location: Cherry Hill, USA

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Artist Descriptive Text:

The “Beauty of Recycling” seeks to enforce the importance of recycling by creating solar energy collectors that not only harvest the sun’s energy, but creates a spectacular light show during the twilight hours. These solar energy collectors, composed largely of recycled materials, collect energy throughout the day, reserving small amounts of energy for a daily “Twilight Show”. The rest of the energy is distributed to local power grids. Spheres made of recycled plastic float on the surface of the water, tethered to the riverbed by anchored pulleys controlling their various heights and levels of submersion. These solar-energy-collecting spheres will go through a daily cycle of collecting energy from dawn to dusk. When the sun begins to set, the devices are submerged underwater and multi-colored LED lights within the devices’ plastic spheres begin to glow, creating a spectacular lightshow for park visitors that compliments the natural beauty of the setting sun.

The goal of the project is to avoid potentially endangering the existing engineered systems and infrastructure of the landfill. Instead, by simplest means possible, the project seeks to attract visitors who will enjoy its natural beauty. To assure minimal environment impact, and allow for easy installation, the devices are simply anchored to the riverbed through the use of steel nails (not to exceed 3 feet in length). The design of the device naturally insures that these nails are secured at varying angles to enhance its grip to the riverbed. When the Twilight Show is over, the devices are completely submerged until the next day when the cycle will recommence. Visitors to the Freshkills Park will leave this former landfill with a greater appreciation for nature, an understanding of technology’s potential to compliment nature, rather than destroy it, and our ability to merge vision and beauty in the realm of recycling.


Solar Bloom

Solar Bloom
Submission to the 2012 Land Art Generator Initiative NYC design competition

Artist Team: Robert Cervellione
Artist Location: New York City, USA

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Artist Descriptive Text:

Solar Bloom is a project which merges technology with nature to create a unique solar harvesting system. The project is adaptable, scalable and can be deployed on the site in phases. Visitors will be encouraged to inhabit the Solar Bloom clusters. The design of the clusters is intended to invoke an altered sense of nature, where natural elements intertwine with the man made. The clusters are envisioned as a place of play as well as for social and cultural activities. Visitors can escape the openness of the site and enjoy some shade from the blooms overhead gathering the sun energy. Visitors will be able to directly engage with the energy being harvested by providing outlets to allow charging and powering their devices.

At the heart of the Solar Bloom is a 3.4 Kw Free-Piston Sterling Dish Engine, a technology that is proven and easy to maintain. All the systems and design elements shown in the proposal are easily fabricated or commercially available. The design incorporates three main elements based on plant systems, the base (root system), the support (stems), and the solar collectors (blooms).

The base is made up of an interwoven concrete support system that is designed to stabilize the stem and blooms by distributing the load across a wide surface area. This will help ensure minimal impact to the delicate site condition by putting nominal pressure on the multiple layers which make up the landfill cap. The base also allows for the system to adapt to the varying slopes of the site and navigate around the numerous landfill elements such as the gas vents. The shape of the concrete base will also allow for all of the internal mechanics such as transformers and battery storage to be enclosed and out of sight. The base will also feature a grooved pattern in the concrete to foster the growth of natural moss and ground cover plants.

The design for the clusters stems is based on the idea of grafting. Each bloom will be supported by multiple grafted stems emanating from the base and merging at the bloom. This arrangement allows the system to become structurally stable. Each stem is connected to one or two other stems creating a rigid A-frame or tripod like arrangement. The stems are made of 18 inch diameter structural steel tubes that are curved in a series of 10 typical radii allowing for a modular construction of the stem system. The curved pipe sections are then cut to specific arc lengths and assembled together to create the stems. With the 10 modular radii there are over 2000 combinations possible allowing for varied and unique stem system.

At the top of the stems are the blooms which are the heart of the system. The blooms house a 3.4 kW free piston Sterling Engine with a 15.4 foot diameter reflective dish. The dish engine is enclosed with a translucent panel made of an eco-friendly resin that is 40 percent recycled content and 100 percent recyclable. The enclosure is illuminated at night with a series of energy efficient LED lights. The intensity of the LED lights at night will vary depending on the amount of energy the bloom collected for that day allowing the visitors to see a visual representation of the systems efficacy. The entire bloom is structured with a lightweight steel and aluminum support structure which is mounted to a 2 axis solar tracking system to ensure optimal collector efficiency.

Environmental Impact Statement

The proposed design will accommodate enough energy to sustain the entire phase I and Phase II energy demand of the site. The system is capable of producing 93,230 kWH/day which is over 4 times the energy required for phase II (assuming LEED building principles from table 15-3 of the FreshkillsGEIS). This would allow Freshkills Park to be a significantly net positive energy project.

The design, material, and construction follow LEED Green Building practices to ensure the least amount of environmental impact. The proposed design will not affect existing waterways, engineered systems, or infrastructure. The proposed system was design to float on the existing landfill which will distribute the weight of the system as well as conform to the natural slopes of the site and minimizing the impact on the landfill cap. The design also allows for access to existing infrastructure elements on the site. The design is modular in nature and a significant portion of the clusters can be manufactures off site allowing minimal disruption of the site during construction of the clusters.


NAWT Balloons

NAWT Balloons
Submission to the 2012 Land Art Generator Initiative NYC design competition

Artist Team: Thomas Kelley, Carrie Norman, Sarah Jazmine Fugate
Artist Location: Chicago, USA

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Artist Descriptive Text:

It is a common misconception that Phileas Fogg’s journey in Around the World in Eighty Days was by hot air balloon. The iconic image, however, fulfills a visual nostalgia for the whimsical beauty of a floating mass. Despite the misreading of Verne’s text, the image is far too satisfying to pass up and we accept the error. The aim of this project is to couple the image of an oversized helium-filled teardrop with a nuanced application of wind energy technology. While the balloon’s image and subsequent geometry are the primitives to our submission, the deployment on the Fresh Kills site ignites an interest in the oversized and the attenuated. Thousands of airborne wind turbines are embedded in conic hair follicles which are applied to the balloon’s curved surface. Skewing the iconic image of Verne’s bouyant transportation, the aim of NAWT Balloons is not flight or expedition. But through its multiplication and reconfiguration, it may be able to produce new, yet familiar, collections of iconicity. It is our belief that it is not important if the method of travel in Fogg’s journey is often depicted falsely, but rather that it continues to strike a chord with the eyes, both young and old.


The hegemony of the Horizontal Axis Wind Turbine must end! Nuance and whimsy are not the enemies of efficiency!

Currently, in the developing wind energy industry, the iconic HAWT is prevalent. In part, the HAWT prevails because of the equation for the available energy in wind: Ek = ½ p A v3, where p is the air density, A is the part of the turbine swept by the wind, and v3 is the velocity of the wind. Since on any given site, designers can do little to control p and v, they have thus far focused on increasing the swept area, A. For a HAWT, A = ∏r2, so the industry has tended toward larger and larger turbines, because energy outputs are a function of the square of the radius of the turbine. Thus goes the conventional thinking that bigger is always better. If the question being asked is, “How can we make the most energy from a single wind turbine?” then such a response is the only logical one.

Yet, the bigger a HAWT is, the deeper and more intrusive its foundations must be and the more embodied energy it must contain. Furthermore, the bigger a HAWT is, the further it has to be spaced from other HAWTs to function efficiently. The Fresh Kills site, for example, can only host up to five large HAWTs, despite its sprawling size. What if the question asked were, “How can we achieve the greatest density of energy production on this site, with its given area and given three dimensional wind conditions?” When the question is posed in this more specific and nuanced way, we see that bigger is not necessarily denser.

The wind energy industry is starting to explore the idea of energy density in addition to exploring ways to increase the energy produced at any one point. Much research has been done (particularly by Professor John Dabiri at Caltech) to show that Vertical Axis Wind Turbines can nest more closely together than HAWTs, can turn in complementary directions, and can increase in efficiency without increasing their footprints by growing vertically. The swept area for a VAWT is A = rh, where r is the radius of the turbine and h is its height.

This project resists the simplicity of the thinking that has lead to HAWT dominance and uses the VAWT as a starting point. It is also highly influenced by the whimsy of Airborne Wind Turbines of all types–from the kytoon to the Magenn Air Rotor System.

The project proposes mounting an array of VAWT-style turbines to the surface of balloons, with each turbine held normal to the balloon’s surface. This new type of turbine, the Normal Axis Wind Turbine, adds a sculptural, whimsical quality to the surface of each balloon. The turbines are light, interchangeable, and have very low embodied energy. Because each balloon is held aloft by the buoyancy of helium gas, only minimal foundations are required for tie-downs, resulting in less disruption of the site. And though each turbine produces only a tiny fraction of the energy produced by a large HAWT, the turbines nest tightly together while minimally disrupting each other’s efficiencies.

Furthermore, the balloons’ height and cluster patterns can be adjusted to increase energy output as needed, since the balloons can be allowed to go higher to catch stronger winds and since adding more balloons to the same tie-down location is relatively simple.

Like so many examples from nature, the Normal Axis Wind Turbine balloon builds up to high energy output through density and cellularity.


Art Wind Energy Unit (A.W.E.)
Submission to the 2012 Land Art Generator Initiative NYC design competition

Artist Team: Ana Morcillo Pallares, Jonathan Rule
Artist Location: Cieza (Murcia), Spain

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Artist Descriptive Text:

The A.W.E. unit or Art Wind Energy unit, combines sculpture, engineering and wind to generate clean energy and offset the new energy demands at Freshkills. The A.W.E. kinetically twists making reference to the cyclical movement produced by the winds interaction with the turbines. It is composed to be a piece that attracts the attention of the visitor through a visual stimulation evoked by its structural fragility. In addition, it serves as a spatial generator to be used as a 360° look-out so visitors can gaze in AWE at the transformation that has taken place at Freshkills.

The site chosen for the first five units is the North Park mound which is to be built-out by 2016. The units are integrated within the internal park road and path system as well serving as a look-out point as indicated in the Draft Master Plan. An additional 10 units can be installed on the East Park mound when it reaches completion in 2036. To mitigate negative effects on the mounds fragile cap, the choice was made to use a lightweight tensegrity structure. Large invasive structures that might become obsolete overtime are avoided. Instead the design responds to the history of change on the site by proposing a structure that is both flexible and adaptable.

Tensegrity is a combination of tensile-integrity as coined by R. Buckminster Fuller, who described these structures as, “small islands of compression in a sea of tension.” A tensegrity structure was chosen for its inherent and unique capabilities that are not found in traditional structures. They are highly adaptable and can be easily erected and dismantled making them ideal for reusable, modular structures. In the case of Freshkills, the mounds are in constant flux as a result of the decomposition of waste under the cap. This differential settlement is difficult to quantify and therefore requires a structure that is tunable to prevent possible damage and collapse.

The need to minimize the impact on the natural environment and preserve the landfill cap requires that the weight of the structure be distributed. The structure consists of 10 load bearing points organized in a circular array. Connecting to the ground at multiple points evenly distributes the weight allowing for the use of smaller foundation and reduces the risk of puncturing the cap. There are 10 structural tubes that are interconnected through a series of cables suspending the structure in a state of tension and compression. To help reduce the overall weight of the structure and minimize the emission of greenhouse gas, the tubes are made of 100% recycled structural plastic lumber. In comparison to traditional materials, recycled plastic structures have a lower embodied energy. They require less energy to produce and due to their weight require less energy to transport them to the site. Additionally, they do not leach toxic chemicals into the soil and water and will outlast treated wood products in harsh outdoor environments.

While tensegrity structures serve a technical purpose through their ability to distribute structural loads, they can also be considered works of art as seen in the sculptures of Kenneth Snelson. The visitor can be stimulated and challenged by the contrast between compressive and tensile members that evoke a sense of weightlessness and fragility. On the other hand the cylindrical form chosen for the structure is intended to convey a sense of cyclical movement that is also found in the integrated vertical windpsires used to capture energy.

Energy production in this installation is made possible by the incorporation of a series of VAWT windspire wind turbines. These turbines were chosen for various reasons. The turbines are made of light weight aircraft grade aluminum; therefore, reducing the overall load on the landfill cap. They can be placed lower to the ground and grouped together reducing required surface area for the installation. They are also designed to be safe and silent enough to not bother visitors. Additionally, these turbines benefit from an integrated transformer allowing for a direct connection to the grid.

The group of windspires is surrounded by an envelope that provides various functions. Its conical form and open slits concentrate the wind, increasing the wind speed inside the cone by up to 1.4x allowing for more energy to be generated. The cone also acts as a shield to protect wildlife from flying into the turbines. Finally, the cone is clad in “solar ivy” allowing for a second means of capturing energy, while at the same time providing shade for the visitor. Solar ivy is locally made in Brooklyn and is a customizable system for renewable energy generation made from thin-film photovoltaic’s that mimics the form of ivy and its relationship with the environment. The combination of systems for collecting energy and the climatic factors found at Freshkills will allow a single A.W.E. unit to produce 29,000 kWH/year.

According to the Freshkills Park Environmental Impact Statement, one of the challenges is how to offset the new demand for energy resulting from new park services and structures. There are two dates, 2016 and 2036, representing when areas of the park will be open and create a new demand for energy. The program through 2016 includes both North and South Parks and a portion of Creek Landing with an energy demand of 12,258 kWH/day. The 2036 program includes East and West Park and an energy demand of 30,589 kWH/day. The goal of the current plan is to offset this demand using different sustainable strategies including powering 10% through the use of wind power. To achieve this, the plan calls for two mid size wind turbines to be located in off-mound areas. The A.W.E. units, which are much smaller in scale, can be located on the mounds and provide a space for visitors to rest and take in the views. In addition, locating wind turbines on top of the mounds takes advantage of the speed up effect created by the movement of wind over a smooth hill. The units can produce 3.25% of the energy demand for 2016 and 3.90% of the total demand by 2036.


The Solar Cairn
Submission to the 2012 Land Art Generator Initiative NYC design competition

Artist Team: Julianne Brown, Christian Brown, Onion 3D Design
Artist Location: New York City, USA

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Artist Descriptive Text:

As a softly shining pattern of arching, translucent shapes by day or a subtle glowing form on a distant hilltop at night, the Solar Cairn represents a meditative landmark for human visitors while Freshkills’ more indigenous inhabitants will find cover within its bounds. Positioned on the north side of East Mound, it is located on 5 acres of the design site affording maximum sunlight per year. Borne from the concept that humanity is inexorably linked to the earth and sun, the Cairn gently rises out of the summit of the human-made landform. It is developed in parallel to the idea of cairns found in Europe through the ages as navigational guideposts, or commemorating a cemetery outside community boundaries. The Solar Cairn as an acknowledgement of Freshkills Landfill’s 60+ year history; it is a landmark serving as a reminder of the consequences of over-consumption as well as the advantages and disadvantages of a throw-away society. It also stands as a guidepost on Freshkills’ long journey back towards a more natural state.

The Solar Cairn is constructed of photovoltaic thin film (amorphous silicon) installed over arching frames ranging from 5.3 to 22.4 feet in height, positioned in concentric circles.

The varying heights simulate the heights of natural shrubs and trees which would provide cover to wildlife at an altitude within Freshkills Park which will not be forested for many years to come. The highest row of arcs is to include a roost bar for flighted animals positioned on the underside of the structural armature. The 17-foot wide pieces are secured to the ground via meshed grid footings which allow drainage and reduce erosion. The circular caverns created by the vaults create opportunities for transformers to be safely housed within physically secured locations. A motion-activated sound system will sound should a visitor cross into a restricted area. Because the Solar Cairn is modular, it is scalable and may be tested. The Solar Cairn will not involve impact and/or disturbance to sensitive ecological receptors (i.e. freshwater or tidal wetlands, water quality, aquatic habitat, air quality, natural and native vegetation). Panel position may be negotiated around passive venting system and drainage infrastructure. 

Several approaches leading to the Cairn ascend through East Mound’s fields of native grasses and vegetation. The visitor begins the slow transformation from spectator to active participant through the desire to explore what lies inside the shining circular structure on the hilltop. The journey to the center of the site, similar to hiking to the top of a mountain to enjoy its sweeping views, requires effort and curiosity. Repeating layers of crystalline vaults lift skyward, capturing the varying light of day and entreating the visitor to gaze deeply into the long circular corridors, perhaps to catch a glimpse of a fleeting animal. As the visitor enters the Cairn through the eastern corridor, they become aware of subtle isolation from the wider landscape and the arrival into a tranquil place creating a harmonious balance between nature and human. The sounds of small birds flitting high above on the panel edges betray their presence, while native animals wind through the shade created by the Cairn and the growing and changing plants beneath; affirmation of nature’s constancy and its ability to renew.

Arrival at the center of the Cairn completes the physical journey; separation from the wider natural environment into a space defined by a crescendo of billowing translucent vaults which safely and passively convert sunlight into 810,069 kWh annually.

The central space of the Cairn is delineated into three distinct areas; past (south), present (center walkway and sundial) and future (north). In acknowledgement of humankind’s environmental desecration of the area in mere decades, the Solar Cairn draws us into contemplation of our integration within this landscape; past, present and future. By design, the visitor enters the Cairn through the eastern hallway in the ‘present’ both existentially and physically. The placid open interior surrounded by a native vegetation border allows the visitor serene reflection of Freshkills unfolding history as well as its ongoing metamorphosis and recovering ecosystem slowly turning to towards its pre-landfill state. The interior space is surfaced with different types of recycled materials which will allow for even drainage across the area and not interfere with the landfill cap drainage system or venting systems.

By standing on the sundial in the center of the interior space, the visitor becomes the gnomon in order to tell time; witnessing their own existence in time and physical relationship to the earth and sun. The visitor becomes an integral part of the Cairn, their very existence in that time and space playing an important role in the functionality of the sundial. Benches aligned with the edge of the open air space allow the visitor further opportunity to reflect on the juxtaposition of nature and technology at the site as well as our responsibility as a society to restore and steward this area into the next century. At the Solar Equinox, the rising sun streams through the eastern hallway, penetrating through the interior space of the Cairn to produce inspiring light play at sunrise.

The western side of the Cairn is integrated with a grove of Dwarf Chestnut Oak Trees planted in Fibonacci series as nature’s contrast to the placement of the panels. Acorns from the grove serve as a source of food for native wildlife in autumn. Exiting the Cairn through west side, the visitor may experience an egress through the serene natural intimacy of the grove and again return to the park footpaths. After dark, the Cairn glows softly via LED lighting designed into the panel support structures.

Designed to harmonize with Freshkills’ recovering ecosystem and park visitors, the Solar Cairn is a landmark of renewal, transforming sunlight, as well as perceptions, of one of the largest inactive landfills in the United States.


Fresh Clouds

Fresh Clouds
Submission to the 2012 Land Art Generator Initiative NYC design competition

Artist Team: Thomas Kosbau, Joseph Hines, Brendan Warford, Chris Smith, Sergio Saucedo
Artist Location: Brooklyn, New York, USA

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Artist Descriptive Text:

The Fresh Clouds project is built upon the concept of harvesting the byproducts of human consumption, through an innovative use of today’s technology and materials, into a resource stream.

From 1947 through 2001 the Fresh Kills Landfill received up to 29,000 tons of garbage a day*. Following the closure and capping of the Landfill, the original plan to build a recreation area over the 2,200 acre site was resumed.
The buried garbage is slowly digesting into poisonous and volatile methane gas deposits. The LAGI Competition Site, Area 3/4, is currently producing 19,000 cubic feet of methane gas per minute (CFM)* and is estimated to continue producing large amounts of methane through 2050. Currently a large portion of Fresh Kills Methane is piped to a 1988 era National Grid power generator. Even with the current generator burning 5 million cubic feet each day, enough methane to heat 25,000 homes, they cannot handle the methane load**. The resultant methane is burned off locally in onsite flues. Although the existing generator and flues dispose of the poisonous methane, current methods of burning convert it into greenhouse gases and air-pollutants such as carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide.

Fresh Clouds offers a scalable system that not only converts methane, but also cleans and converts the byproduct hot exhaust directly into energy at a local level. Creating energy directly at each well will reduce the required amount of infrastructure to ecologically convert methane to energy. Rather than building or maintaining a large network of gas infrastructure to a single distant electrical plant, Fresh Clouds propose installing micro-turbines at each passive well head, to continuously convert methane into electricity. The hot off-gassing of each micro-turbine flows into high temperature/pressure ETFE balloons.

The geometry of Fresh Clouds was created with a Weaire-Phelan packing script to mimick the structure of methane gas molecules under high pressure. The resultant shape provides optimal structural strength and minimum surface area for the hot gasses produced by the micro-turbines. The exterior layers of the Smart Clouds are composed of high strength ETFE. The interior, receiving high temperatures directly from the micro-turbines, is composed ETFE coated with titanium dioxide and PTFE, which absorbs the CO2 from the exhaust.

The high, internal temperatures of the Fresh Clouds, in comparison with ambient air temperature, result in a tremendous amount of lift. The base of each Cloud is tethered to three steel cables which run through flywheels that are arrayed around the micro-turbines, under an earthen enclosure. These tethering cables are pulled by the Cloud’s lift, causing the flywheels to generate a large amount of electricity. As the cloud approaches a FCC allowable maximum height of 500 ft, the cables pull taught and a series of vents open at the top of the cloud to release the cleaned hot exhaust. The internal temperature of the cloud returns to equilibrium and the cloud descends to the ground to repeat the process.

The electricity from the micro turbines and flywheels are fed directly into the NY metropolitan grid. The estimated sum of the 120 smart clouds, is enough to power 30,000 amount of NY households, which, given the smaller acreage of site 3/4 versus the entire site is over six times more power provided than the existing generator.

Of the 120 Fresh Clouds on site 3/4, dispersed along the existing pathway are 7 larger Clouds that function as floating Ecological Learning Centers. These also rise and fall due to the burning of methane but at a slower rate, pausing for 5 minutes of visitor loading/unloading at the ground level, and 15 minutes of interactive exhibits. Each of the learning has its own unique, but related ecological theme (Freshkills Renewal Project Interpretation; Local vs Global Consumption; Climate Change; Local vs Global Water Polution; New Technologies; Local vs Global Air Polution; and The Earth’s Future). During the ascent the visitor is engaged with interactive projections on the translucent and transparent skins of the Fresh Clouds. The ecological theme of each center is juxtaposed with the present day revitalization of Fresh Kills and the metropolis of the New York Metropolitan area beyond.

Like the smart grid, the smart cloud system not only supplies energy but also monitors energy usage in the NY metro area which is reflected in the color of leds, projecting an ambient glow in each cloud. The more energy used the brighter red, the field of occulting clouds will glow at night providing real time feedback visible to all in a 25 mile radius. As the metro NY area evolves into a more efficient ecological center in the years to come, the clouds will glow a cleaner white.

*Determination of Landfill Gas Composition and Pollutant Emission Rates at Fresh Kills Landfill; Carol Bellizzi; EPA – 1995; DCN 95-654-028-011

**Methane Brings New York $12 Million A Year As Dump Becomes Park; Mike Di Paola – Bloomberg – Aug 24, 2011


Thank you to everyone who participated in the LAGI NYC 2012 competition to design public artwork that generates utility-scale clean energy for Freshkills Park (the former Freshkills Landfill). On July 1 we received 250 submissions from 39 countries. The quality of the submissions to this year’s competition has been truly inspiring.

Over the upcoming months we will be writing articles here at BLAGI about selected submissions. In the meantime, we have decided to make public the online portfolio that showcases nearly all of the qualified entries. You can now see this site by going to the LAGI portfolio.

In July we held a shortlisting evening in which a team of professionals got the submissions down to the top 25 submissions. Thank you to Decker Yeadon, LLC for hosting this evening in their lovely space at Metropolitan Exchange in Brooklyn. And thank you to everyone who provided his or her thoughtful insight!

The official jury team deliberated during the month of August to determine the winning design solutions. We cannot thank them enough for their dedicated time and expertise.

As always, thank you to our supporters:
The National Endowment of the Arts, Horne Family Foundation, Zayed University, and many individuals

and our partners: New York City Parks & Recreation, the Coalition for Arts & Humanities Staten Island, Institute for Urban Design, and Zayed University.

On October 25 we will be holding a public event in New York City where we will announce the winners of the 2012 competition.

Following are just a few examples of the many amazing submissions. Please note that we’ve picked these as a random sampling before the jury process started, so you won’t get any hints here as to who the winners are!


Artist Team: Yijie Dang, Tom Tnag
Artist Location: New York City, USA

Energy Technology:
Kinetic generators such as the M2E Power Kinetic Battery, piezoelectric generators

Annual Capacity:
1,000 megawatt-hours

“Trees are a symbol of renewal and the interconnectedness of all things. At Fresh Kills Park, nature is literally being restored by manmade intervention. A large tree could provide shading for the visitors and serve as a symbol for the park. However, the landfill cap at Fresh Kills contains only enough soil for grasslands and is not deep enough to support the large roots of a wide canopy tree. However, if that tree were artificial, it could generate electricity, provide lighting, provide shading, and not require the deep roots that a real tree would need. Our solution: a 90ft tall tree made of recycled industrial balloons and PVC pipes. This artificial tree simultaneously alludes to the manmade past of the site and the role of the park as renewal of the natural while also providing shading for the visitors and harvesting energy through the swaying and bending of the branches.

During the day, the sun heats up the balloons and the canopy size increases, providing more shading and bending the branches to generating energy. As the balloons sway in the wind, kinetic generators such as the M2E Power Kinetic Battery at the base of each balloon work like an automatic watch and produce electricity through the swaying motion. Along the branches, spaced every 3 ft, are more kinetic generators, piezoelectric generators, and LEDs. This combination creates electricity from the bending of the translucent PVCs with piezoelectric ceramic plates, captures energy from the movement with the kinetic generators, and lights up to indicate electricity harvesting.

At night, the balloons are slightly reduced in size and produce a luminous glow while generating energy. The tree should be placed on the north hill where it is visible and accessible from West-Shore Expressway. The tree is many things: symbolic, literal, and sculptural. But it is also practical: providing shading, generating electricity, educating visitors about the site’s man-made past. It is all those things simultaneously. It represents renewal and the interconnectedness of all things.”

Scene-Sensor // Crossing Social and Ecological Flows

Artist Team: James Murray, Shota Vashakmadze
Artist Location: Atlanta, USA

Energy Technology:
photovoltaic thin film (amorphous silicon) and piezoelectric generators

Annual Capacity:
5,500 megawatt-hours

“Key interactions of human and ecological energies, above and below the surface of Freshkills, drive complex environmental flows, allowing us to question how to sense, channel, and harness their energies in a productive tension, revealing their interconnected fluctuations in beneficial ways.

Scene-Sensor situates itself at the intersection of flows joining and separating opposing landforms: as a channel screen, harnessing the flows of wind through the tidal artery, and as vantage points, staging crosswise pedestrian flows through the park, the two acting in combination as a mirror-window, reflecting and revealing the scene of Freshkills’ fluctuating landscape back to itself.

The undulating landforms, both above and below the surface, are products of duelling forces: natural and artificial composition. An invisible trace of material history is pinned between its identities of wilderness, marsh, landfill, and public space. But these forces, the flows of human and ecological energies that have transformed the site, are only understood in solitude, outside the reciprocating senses that have defined their existence. The social and ecological are treated as being mutually exclusive, as opposites whose interaction can only further fragment the confluence of the landscape. Our proposal constructs a union of these seemingly disparate flows, setting the stage for one another through a sensor of visible and invisible forces: the Scene-Sensor.”


Artist Team: Michael Chaveriat, Yikyu Choe, Myung Kweon Park
Artist Location: New York City, USA

Energy Technology:
photovoltaic thin film (amorphous silicon)

Annual Capacity:
15,000 megawatt-hours

“Heliofield is an energy-generating network of solar modules that rise out of the prairie grasses of Fresh Kills Park. The topography and tabula rasa quality of the former landfill site make it ideally suited to collect the locally abundant and renewable solar energy that shines on Staten Island. Heliofield aims to establish dynamic relationships between technology, landscape, and the site’s occupants, whether they are people, plants or animals.

Utilizing state-of-the-art technologies in its solar modules, Heliofield increases efficiency while minimizing production costs. Nanosolar is a company on the cutting edge of solar PV semiconductor research manufacturing. The proprietary approach to printing CIGS (Copper, Indium, Gallium, Selenium) and nanoparticle inks minimizes our use of expensive, high vacuum manufacturing equipment. Nanosolar grows a thin film semiconductor using a printing and annealing process that is much faster than conventional methods.

Recent advances in nanoscience are utilized to create high quality, highly uniform layers of nanoparticles dispersed through proprietary CIGS ink. This allows for the use of equipment from the industrial printing industries to produce solar-electric foil at high speeds and great quantities.

The unique conditions of the site call for an inventive approach to the infrastructure needs for a such a large-scale intervention. What appears to be a rugged and wild landscape is, in reality, highly managed and delicate. As to not disturb the landfill cap, Heliofield uses massive feet as andchors and thin, stilt-like legs to elevate the PV panels above the prairie grasses while delivering electricity throughout the system. There are no footings, foundations, electrical cable infrastructure to be concealed/buried. Electricity collection and delivery systems are contained within each unit. This system of components affords great flexibility and scalability.”

In Between Scapes of Light

Artist Team: Carmen Bakanitsch, Christoph Walter Pirker
Artist Location: Graz, Austria

Energy Technology:
Three-dimensional Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells

Annual Capacity:
4,500 megawatt-hours

“In this process we are developing the element of the line. A line it is meant to be that draws, creates space. A line that winds, bends, runs and stands still. A line that disappears, hides, surprises, thuds, beats, divides, connects, caresses. A line that is tender, brute, defiant, brave, square, light as a feather, clear, glittering, colourless, glowing. We want to create a line that is atmospherically as dense as the blackest black, dense as the brightest purple chrome. A line that allows man to hear the wind blow. Aiming to achieve this goal we cannot regard a line as just a two-dimensional object but as an element that is seeking space.

Based on recent research studies the volume of the line is formed by millions of extremely thin solar threads, optical-fiber-based 3D Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells. The solar threads arrayed in a distance of 10 centimetres from each other form the proportions of our line: a depth of 5 metres and a height of 10 metres.

Then we will further increase this atmospheric density by employing additional elements of line. We place them in front and behind each other, make them interfere and form relations with each other, thus creating not only spaces within the volume itself, but spaces, spaces in-between, spaces as a result of adding more such lines. Thus the lines are not set into the landscape as mere objects but in powerful gestures that seeking space refer to themselves, to man, to the wide open of the location, grasping it and responding to it. The solar threads, the essential part of the Atmosphere, are fixed on the Structure which appears from the outside as the narrow horizontal finishing upper part. This plate also serves to support the system as a static reinforcement and a means to transport the energy generated by the solar threads. The solar threads do not touch the ground but keep a distance of one metre to it as if waiting for an answer.”

Solar Loop

Artist Team: Paolo Venturella, Alessandro Balducci, Gilberto Bonelli, Rocco Valantines, Mario Emanuele Salini, Pietro Bodria
Artist Location: Paris, France

Energy Technology:
Thin Film Photovoltaic

Annual Capacity:
10,000 megawatt-hours

“The aim of the «Solar Loop» is to expose more surface as possible to the solar rays during the day. The shape comes directly from the solar diagrams, and deals easily with the sun following it with the best angle, almost like a frozen artificial sunflower. The shape is designed to be the most efficient solution, calculating the angle of the sun’s rays as the average of the angles of the winter and the summer solstice.

The aesthetic of the sculpture is the result of this dialogue that becomes synthesis between the solar power and freshkills park.

Thinking in small it could be a shader, thinking in big could be an arena to organize medium/big events inside such as concerts, sports events, speeches: ready to be the new point of reference for the park’s visitors.

The «Solar Loop» is composed by two different surfaces that twist one into the other. The first one is the photovoltaic surface always exposed to the sun with the most performative angle, the second is the mirrored surface that reflects all the surrounding to multiply the spectacularity of the landscape as a single either multiple landmark.

The Fresh kills’s East Park is the only most sunny part of the park all the year long, and the easiest accessed park visually connected with the Manhattan Skyline.

A solar catalyst, a crowd and cultural catalyst it will be the park’s nest.”

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