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Ring Garden
Submission to the 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative design competition for Santa Monica

Team: Alexandru Predonu
Artist Location: Bucharest, Romania
Energy Technologies: photovoltaic panels, algae bioreactor
Water Harvesting Technology: solar powered osmotic desalination (with waste brine used to culture algae for livestock feed)
Annual Capacity: 440 MWh (100% goes to power desalination processes and rotate the Ring Garden)
60 million liters of drinking water (40 million liters goes to agricultural production)
18,000 Kg of aeroponic crop yield (conserves 331 million gallons of water)
5,000 Kg of spirulina biomass for livestock feed

Agriculture is the largest user of fresh water in California. Ring Garden demonstrates a solution by creating a highly efficient ecosystem including a desalination plant, a rotating aeroponics farm, and an algae bioreactor. It harvests seawater, CO2, and the sun’s energy to create food, biomass, and fresh water.

Seawater enters the desalination plant through special screens that protect fish and local wildlife. Solar panels power a high-pressure pump to pressurize seawater above the osmotic pressure and through a semi permeable membrane.

The plants in the rotating farm use 60% of the water produced. The remaining 30% is sent to the city grid. The brine water is fed through the bioreactor to produce cultures of spirulina that, once mature, are sent to an offsite plant to produce biomass.

The aeroponics system uses 98% less water than conventional farming and yields on average 30% more crops without the need for pesticides or fertilizers. Ring Garden demonstrates that the main elements a plant needs in order to grow—water, sun, nutrients, and CO2— are on site and don’t need to be transported.

Assisted by the power of the sun, the desalination plant provides fresh water and nutrients filtered from the seawater. On a footprint of about 1,000 m2 the farm can produce vegetables that would otherwise take 26,000 m2 of land and 340 million gallons of fresh water per year. Ring Garden consumes only nine million gallons of water per year. It saves 331 million gallons that would simply evaporate, which is water that can be redirected to 2,300 households.

The farm rotation reflects the movement of the Pacific Ferris wheel on the pier, and ensures that each “spoke” of planted area receives the appropriate amount of sunlight. The plant supports have a swivel mechanism that uses gravity to keep the plants always facing upward.

The structure is oriented south for best sun exposure. Ring Garden is tilted approximately 8.5 degrees so that on Earth Day (April 22) the sun seen from the Santa Monica Pier will set through the middle of the wheel.

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Sema Orouk
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:
This project merges with the natural surroundings. It creates a retreat where harmony between man and nature can be experienced. Visitors can experience a different sensibility of the man made environment; the treatment of both space and form takes into consideration the human senses of sight, hearing and touch. Entering the building is a beginning of a journey that takes the visitor away from the chaos of the city into the silence of nature.

It starts from where the building is placed. There, paths continue at different levels connecting different spaces. From the path that splits the land into two parts, one that represents the city and its chaos and the other representing nature and its silence starts the journey. Taking a boat, the path opens up to the side of nature taking you away from that cost into the heart of silence passing through the mangroves that the birds inhabit. It is an experience that consists of a sequence of events that stimulate the peoples senses and help them be in contact with nature.

People will be able to sense the combination of water, vegetation and architecture in one place. It gratifies the human desire for a world that is visible and tangible. Architecture constructs a landscape that is inhabited. The landscape becomes both interior and exterior.

The form of the building is intended to develop as a device that integrates with the surrounding landscape while at the same time cerebrating its different physical features. it carves into the land to create different spaces that allow for different activities and experiences.it is mainly a series of concrete walls that orient the visitor through a series of galleries which are exhibitions of work that explains the nature of the site, and views where nature itself becomes the exhibited object for the viewer.

The steel skin that wraps around the spaces is both conceptually and physically a connection to the land. It acts as a secondary structure that supports the cantilevered structures. It also acts as a shading device with ventilation abilities in the parts where it has tilted perforated steel cladding. This tilted cladding would allow people to view the site and provide appropriate ventilation through the air movement across the spaces.

This skin also becomes an energy generator. The tubes of which the skin is constructed are filled with algae that is taken from the same site. This algae would be used to produce alge fuel to generate energy.

low-res version PDF of submitted boards

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Ryan Connolly
Studio of Associate Professor, Lisa Tilder, at the Knowlton School of Architecture, The Ohio State University
Designed for Site #1 in Dubai, near Ras al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary.

Land Art Generator Initiative
Design Submission for the 2010 Land Art Generator Initiative Design Competition

Artist’s descriptive text:
Symbiotic Ecologies are a juxtaposition of man-made and natural ecologies that will create energy beneficial to both. Visitors move into the site along boardwalks; first, over fields of fiber optic cables and then into bird filled meadows. An underground algae farm utilizes the light captured in fields of fiber optic cables to grow. When processed, its lipids are converted into biofuels that cleanly power Dubai’s built environment and its sugars are returned to the site in the form of bird feed.

In addition, natural shallow water, marsh, seacoast, and grassland habitats provide an extended home to the 7,000,000 birds that annually pass through the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary. By enhancing the existing wildlife sanctuary with a new energy-generating art installation, this project seeks to become not only a global tourist destination but a model system of local energy creation and feedback, environmentally and culturally specific to the UAE.

ENERGY GENERATION
The project’s energy generating capacity relies on an underground system of algae farms. Sheltered underground, no excess environmental controls or conditioning are needed on the site to make it suitable for crop growth. Photobiotic reactors are used to grow the algae, which would be processed into biofuel and electricity. Fields of fiber optic cables on the surface of the site will collect sunlight during the day and pass it underground to the reactors. Combined with CO2 harvested from the air and waste water from Dubai, a harvest of algae can be completed in one to ten days, with a 100% yield capacity.

Algae can grow with saline water in desert conditions, produces 300x more oil than conventional crops, and grows 20-30x faster than traditional food crops. To be harvested, the algae is starved of its nutrients, separated into its constituent lipids and sugars by soaking in a solvent bath, the solvent is evaporated, and the lipids are converted into biofuels and their sugars are used as bird feed. The biofuels can be used to cleanly power Dubai and the feed is then redistributed across the site, attracting and nourishing the local and migrant bird populations of Ras Al Khor. Once its initial construction is complete, this project will coexist and symbiotically support the neighboring bird sanctuary. Truly clean energy should support Dubai’s built environment and preserve the natural environment and diversity that makes the UAE so unique.

Land Art Generator Initiative

TEMPORAL EXPERIENCE
Symbiotic Ecologies presents a seasonally changing temporal habitat, providing varying means of human and animal occupation. The northern portion of the site will be flooded by the nearby Dubai Creek, providing a year round bird sanctuary and feeding grounds. To the south, other areas of the site contain integrated fiber optics light harvesting fields and bird feeding systems. These areas will be gradually flooded in the spring and fall, with peak flooding occurring in the winter, to provide increased shallow water, marsh, seacoast, and grassland habitats for the large influx of migratory birds at this time. As more birds migrate, a larger area of the site is devoted to providing a habitat and feeding grounds. As they go, the site may revert back to generating energy for human consumption. When the habitable space for the birds increases, the area occupiable by man decreases, with certain paths only accessible during the summer, spring or autumn. People and birds co-exist in a proportional and symbiotic relationship, in occupation and energy production and consumption.

Land Art Generator Initiative

SYMBIOTIC ECOLOGIES
The fiber optic fields mimic the appearance of agricultural fields, the very impetus that allowed man to evolve, to settle in groups, and to found cities in the Fertile Crescent, not so far from Dubai. This form is fitting to propel human settlement into the post-petroleum age. As the product of intense technological planning, the optic fields present a disturbing and reassuring closeness of human intervention. As visitors plunge deeper into the site, more and more birds surround them. Technology fades away to a more comfortable, recognizable, and local ecological system. Conspicuously, it is man who is feeding and sustaining the bird populations. Visitors from around the world will identify mans’ position as primary benefactor and controller of the Earth’s resources and his/her need to maintain Earth’s diversity of species and habitats. Leaving the site, the visitor is confronted by a sea of technological melancholy. Equated, it appears as though it is possible for us to sustain ourselves and those who we shepherd on this planet.

Land Art Generator Initiative

low-res version PDF of submitted boards

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Grégoire Diehl, smoothcore architects
with Xuhui Liu, Alexandre Braleret, and Léa Santamaria
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:
Photoreactor Farm Tower is an active landart piece which takes Dubai’s underused context elements as a chance to start the new energy revolution and produce alternative fuel. The context elements are the Sea (used as an algae tank), the Desert (used as an infinite algae field) and the Sunlight (used to grow algae).

The Photoreactor Farm Tower (PFT) is an active artifact. The algae fields are an artistic installation made of illuminated vertical green glass tubes with algae in them. By going vertical, you can get a lot more surface area to expose cells to the sunlight. It keeps the algae hanging in the sunlight just long enough to pick up the solar energy they need to produce, to go through photosynthesis.

The PFT is an architectural landmark in which takes place technical (substation-separator), educational (DEBFAU-Dubai Energy and Bio Fuel of Algae University), research (DLAER- Dubai Laboratory for Algae Energy Research), vertical farming (fruits, green cows, green chicken…) where animals eat algae food, French bio market (to buy twice a week fresh and bio food) and recycling (RABIT- Recycling Algae Biomass Institute of Technology).

Dubai may be best known for “Big Oil.” But the oil that could some day make a dent in the country’s use of fossil fuels is small. Microscopic, in fact: algae. Literally and figuratively, this is green fuel.

The PFT team (architects, artists, researchers, landscape architects) believes algae can someday be competitive as a source for biofuel.

The plant is a giant solar collecting system getting the bulk of its energy from the sunshine.

Algae are among the fastest growing plants in the world, and about 50 percent of their weight is oil. That lipid oil can be used to make biodiesel for cars, trucks, and airplanes. Pond scum can be turned into fuel.

Most people know algae as “pond scum.” And until recently, most energy research and development projects used ponds to grow it. But open pond cultivation involves a lot of land area, with inherent problems of evaporation and contamination from other plant species and various flying and swimming critters.

But instead of ponds, the PFT uses a closed, vertical system, growing the algae in long glass illuminated tubes. A pond has a limited amount of surface area for solar absorption. By going vertical, you can get a lot more surface area to expose cells to the sunlight. It keeps the algae in the sunlight just long enough to pick up the solar energy they need to produce, to go through photosynthesis.

The PFT can produce about 100,000 gallons of algae biofuel a year per acre, or the equivalent of 2,500 MWh of electricity.

There are about 65,000 known algae species, with perhaps hundreds of thousands more still to be identified. Part of the operation of the PFT will be to house research activities that will identify the best species.

Locating algae processing plants intelligently can add to their efficiency. Locating algae facilities next to carbon producing power plants, or manufacturing plants, for instance, the plants could sequester the C02 they create and use those emissions to help grow the algae, which need the C02 for photosynthesis.

low-res version PDF of submitted boards

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