Tidal Energy

Kepler Energy's Transverse Horizontal Axis Water Turbine (THAWT)

There are many different ways to convert tidal energy into electricity. We've recently come across a few innovations like the work being done at the University of Oxford (Kepler THAWT pictured above).

Seagen's 1.2 MW Tidal Energy Converter

The LAGI 2016 design site offers an opportunity for participants to think about tidal energy technologies, their form, and their relationship to space, both above and below the surface of the water. What is the ecological impact of their addition to the sea bed?

Tidal Stream Titan 1-3MW

The two major taxonomies are those that employ tidal barrage (dams) and those that catch the free-flowing tidal stream. Tidal stream type generators work very much like wind turbines, but because water is denser than air, the potential power per swept area is great.

Section through the proposed Swansea Tidal Lagoon.
Check out the work that Cape Farewell is doing at Swansea.

Barrage type tidal generators—like the proposed Swansea Tidal Lagoon in Wales—tend to benefit from a sizable difference between low and high tides. It's interesting to think of breakwater constructions and storm/sea level resiliency infrastructures as potentially serving as a tidal barrage as well.

Delta Stream by Tidal Energy

We're looking forward to seeing what creative applications can be found that explore how this technology can be expressed with a cultural aspect.

West Islay tidal project off South West Scotland (DP Marine Energy and DEME Blue Energy Consortium)

LAGI 2016 is Open!

Calling all artists, designers, architects, landscape architects, engineers, scientists, city planners, inventors, activists, creatives, policy makers, students, professionals, and everyone who cares about climate justice and harmony between people and our beautiful planet.

The free and open Land Art Generator Initiative 2016 international design competition is now live with a design site adjacent to the historic Santa Monica Pier and with an all-star cast of project partners, supporters, and jurors.

There is a cash prize of $15,000 for the 1st Place winner and $4,000 for the 2nd Place winner.

LAGI 2016 invites you to design a large-scale and site-specific work of public art that serves to provide zero-carbon electricity and/or drinking water at scale to the City of Santa Monica, while capturing the imagination of the world and inspiring us all about the beauty of our sustainable future.

the LAGI 2016 design site

Spend some time with the complete LAGI 2016 Design Guidelines document. With a coastal site comes many new opportunities to incorporate solar, wind, wave, tidal, and other technologies as the medium for your artwork.

The 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative is free and open to anyone. In order to make that possible we rely on the generosity of people like you.

If you appreciate the work that LAGI is doing to promote sustainable development and the arts—both in education and in the built environment—please consider a tax-deductible gift to help make LAGI 2016 and our educational content possible.

the LAGI 2016 design site

We are living at a critical moment when the power of human imagination is needed like never before—both to provide new solutions and to communicate a message of positive change. The Paris Climate Accord has united the world around a goal of 1.5–2° C, which will require a massive investment in clean energy infrastructure.

LAGI 2016 is meant to provide a positive and proactive vision of how these new infrastructures can be enhancements to our most cherished places. Whether providing clean and renewable electricity to power our homes and automobiles, or providing the clean water so vital to our survival, public services are at their brightest when they can be a celebrated component of urban planning and development.

LAGI 2016 is an opportunity to present your vision of what our energy landscapes can aspire to be in their built form.

Please take some time to look around this blog for past articles about the intersection between art and energy, and emerging clean energy technologies that may be interesting to incorporate as media for public art.

Thank you!
Elizabeth Monoian and Robert Ferry
LAGI Founding Directors

U.S. Green Building Council-Los Angeles (USGBC-LA) Launches LEGACY PROJECT Competition Greenbuild 2016

See below for a great opportunity! This is not related to LAGI 2016. USGBC-LA is a LAGI 2016 partner and we want to make sure everyone knows about their LEGACY PROJECT competition.

Los Angeles, CA (December 10, 2015)  Today, the U.S. Green Building Council-Los Angeles (USGBC-LA) Chapter is launching the competition to create a Legacy Project, to be unveiled during Greenbuild International Conference & Expo, October 5-7, 2016 in Los Angeles. The Greenbuild LA Legacy Project, which will be built, is a gift from the national USGBC and USGBC-LA Host Chapter to Los Angeles for hosting the conference and will be a permanent and enduring means of service, education and thanks to the local community. The Request for Proposal (RFP) can be accessed at https://usgbc-la.wazoku.com/ with the due date of January 27, 2016. The project must be completed, i.e. built and delivered, by September 1, 2016.
Along with the Legacy Project, people also have the opportunity to submit Spotlight Ideas, ideas that serve similar goals to the Legacy Project, but may not yet be feasible or deliverable. Spotlight Ideas submitted to the website are intended to encourage people to dream and help foster, support and grow great Legacy Project ideas into full RFP submissions through community engagement. Selected standout ideas will be eligible to showcase at Greenbuild 2016. To submit an idea, see due dates and criteria, and learn how to build support, please visit
https://usgbc-la.wazoku.com/ .
The theme for the Los Angeles conference is “Iconic Green”, drawing on LA’s status as home to some of our nation’s and the world’s most iconic imagery, talent and landscapes, and submissions should consider what ‘iconic’ means for their project / idea. Both the Legacy Project RFP and Spotlight Ideas are open to all, and there is no submission fee. The ideal legacy project submission should be permanent, scalable, service varied socio economic backgrounds and be accessible to a larger general audience among other carefully chosen criteria.
“We are so excited to help guide the Legacy Project for Los Angeles,” state Greenbuild 2016 Legacy Project co-chairs Coomy Kadribegovic of AECOM and Maya Henderson of Bentley Mills. “Both the final Project and the Spotlight Ideas provide people from across L.A. the chance to inspire and be inspired by others, address an important green building issue, and stimulate change, idea by idea.”
Adds USGBC-LA Executive Director Dominique Hargreaves, “The final Legacy Project, in particular, will contribute to greening the local area, while also offering a visual explanation of why a sustainable built environment for all communities is so vital to our existence. The USGBC-LA is committed to transforming L.A. into a sustainable region through education (the ‘why’), innovation and action, and having Greenbuild and this project here will hopefully get a lot of people to take an active interest.”
Past conferences have sponsored projects that continue to serve their communities long after the attendees from Greenbuild have departed. These projects include an interactive playground in Philadelphia, a green building educational center in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans, and a new urban food studio in Washington, D.C. 
Greenbuild, held in a different city each year, attracts over 30,000 global attendees and includes the largest green building expo, numerous education sessions, workshops and speakers, a Legacy Project and tours organized by the local chapter (USGBC-LA), art installations, and adjacent events. There are many opportunities to be involved in Greenbuild for anyone interested in a sustainable built environment. For developing information, please visit
www.usgbc-la.org, or contact Dominique Hargreaves at dominique@usgbc-la.org.
The website is made possible thanks to a unique media partnership with Wazoku (www.wazoku.com), a leading collaborative idea management software company. Idea Spotlight, Wazoku’s flagship product and the basis of the Legacy site, empowers enterprise, public sector and third-sector organizations to innovate and achieve their organizational goals through structured, managed, measured and sustainable collaborative idea management, open innovation and stakeholder engagement programs. “We are excited to support Greenbuild as it seeks to uncover innovative ways to improve the built environment in and around Los Angeles, engaging its members, partners and the general public.” says Simon Hill, CEO of Wazoku. 

Open Letter & Proposal to the UNFCCC and Mission Innovation

To the attention of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Secretary General Christiana Figueres and the Mission Innovation initiative spearheaded by Bill Gates and 20 Global Leaders:

(on the occasion of Day 2: Innovation in Action of the COP 21 Sustainable Innovation Forum)

Since 2010, the Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) has been inspiring the world with a new vision for the design of our clean energy future. The goal is to design and construct public art installations that have the added benefit of utility-scale clean energy generation, with each sculpture providing power to thousands of homes. We have amassed a network of thousands of professionals around the world and across disciplines from art, architecture, renewable energy science, engineering, and land use planning to proactively address the visual impact of post-carbon infrastructures on the constructed and natural environments.

As the winner of the 2014 LAGI design competition for Copenhagen shows us, we can make our cities more beautiful and sustainable at the same time. Let's take this opportunity and the momentum of COP 21 Paris to create new economic development engines for our cities, centered around landmark works of public art that declare their commitment to a low carbon future, while actually serving to offset their reliance on carbon infrastructures and educating the public about new clean technologies.

As Connie Hedegaard, former EU Commissioner for Climate Action, puts it so eloquently in her statement on LAGI 2014 (video below), we need to move past the "doom and gloom" messaging of climate science and give people a positive vision that moves them to want to live in a 100% renewable energy world.

We would therefore like to propose a global design competition between the 20 participating Mission Innovation countries to design and construct the most visually inspiring, conceptually profound, and technologically innovative work of public art that also serves as functional clean energy infrastructure (each with a nameplate capacity of at least 5 MWp). As a part of COP 26 in 2020, the winning design will be announced and the technological innovation(s) behind it made public.

LAGI 2020 COP 26 will be a natural progression for the LAGI biennial design competitions and will result in the construction of real net-zero energy infrastructure in twenty destination art sites (urban or rural) with combined annual capacity of approximately 140,000 MWh or offsetting the energy needs of 20,000 homes.

The artworks themselves will give each host country a sense of pride to go along with their strengthened commitment to GHG reduction goals and will offer a powerful way for the UNFCCC and Mission Innovation to communicate progress and the outcomes of the negotiations process.

Art has the power to speak directly to the hearts of people and create a momentum for political will to action. For decades the environmental art movement has presented powerful messages that have opened people's eyes to the severity of climate change. With a progression from Kyoto to COP 15, artist engagement with UN Climate negotiations has been consistently expanding. ArtCOP21 has had the greatest impact yet, with coordinated efforts by organizations such as COAL, Cape Farewell, Carbon Arts, the Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts, and dozens of other institutions.

The time is now to also give creatives the opportunity to have a direct influence on the very infrastructures that are needed to solve the problem. Twenty ambitious solution-based art-as-infrastructure installations can set the stage for the next 100 years of cultural and technological evolution and point the way to a 100% renewable world.

The Land Art Generator Initiative is offering to manage (not-for-profit) the entire competition process turnkey on behalf of all project partners, including competition management, design management, and construction management. All that we ask is for the cooperation of the UNFCCC and the dedication of the 20 participating Mission Innovation countries to deliver their innovative and visually engaging infrastructures in time for COP 26 2020.

Thanks for the work you do on behalf of the climate.

Elizabeth Monoian and Robert Ferry
LAGI Co-Directors

Download the PDF

P.S. For more examples of how beautiful and inspiring our renewable energy infrastructures can be, see the examples below and our complete online portfolio of past LAGI design competition submissions.

Hydrostor Compressed Air Energy Storage

click link for image source

With LAGI 2016 focusing on a coastal site, we thought it would be interesting to highlight this project in Toronto that is demonstrating a new kind of compressed air storage.

The project maintains a small ecological footprint by using horizontal drilling techniques to connect to deep water where the pressure is equal to that of the air being stored.

click link for image source

The new technology being tested by Hydrostor in Toronto estimates 80% efficiency (energy extracted/energy stored) and can be applied to any coastal condition to help with intermittency (solar & wind), load balancing, reserve capacity, and peak-shaving needs of the regional electrical grid.

Via Fast Company. Article includes the original video embed and image.

The Glasgow Model

Since the first exhibition of LAGI in 2009, which introduced the concept of artwork powering cities, and the early educational content we began to create that year in preparation for the 2010 launch of our first (what was to become biennial) open call ideas competition, the vision of the land art generator initiative has been to provide a glimpse onto a world powered by renewable energy that is also rich with visual beauty and wonder—where the very machines that can bring our climate back into balance have cultural relevance in their formal expression and add wonder to our joyfully sustainable lives.

With the help of thousands of creative individuals working across disciplines and submitting proposals to our 2010, 2012, 2014, and soon 2016 design competitions, the LAGI project has planted a seed that is starting to really grow.

Over the past few years we have expanded our educational content and outreach, first with our Field Guide to Renewable Energy Technologies, workshops for all ages, and our Art+Energy Flash Cards, and continuing this past year with the introduction of our Youth Design Prize and our Art+Energy Camp.

What is really exciting to us now is that all of these projects are coming together as a comprehensive program for cities around the world. We're now in a position where we are able to call back participating teams in previous LAGI design competitions and bring them in on site-specific commissions and invited design competitions. From the start of the project the mission has been to construct as many of the the land art generator ideas as possible and make the beauty of our renewable future a reality today. The recent award of the J.M.K. Innovation Prize comes to LAGI at the perfect time, when we are starting to implement designs and consult with cities and communities on site-specific solutions to energy opportunities.

We believe that there is no better tool for creating a tipping point to strong climate action and 100% renewable energy infrastructure than to present a positive vision to the public of what that could look like and the residual benefits that such policies would bring to cities. The opportunity to bring new energy technologies into city planning and creative placemaking projects is at the heart of LAGI. As a part of the design and implementation of constructed works, LAGI educational programming provides the perfect platform for extensive community engagement and participatory design processes, leading to infrastructures that benefit the greatest number of people. LAGI Glasgow is proving to be the perfect example of this ideal delivery model.

In early 2013, we received an email from Chris Fremantle, producer, researcher, and founder of ecoartscotland. Following on conversations he had as a part of Creative Carbon Scotland’s Green Teas(e) — part of the European Green Arts Lab Alliance project, Chris wanted to know what it would take to bring LAGI to Scotland in 2015. From the start he was interested in customizing the planning of LAGI Glasgow to reflect the complexities of the debate around renewables and their relationship to key environments in Scotland. The success of renewable energy implementation there since the early 2000's has figured heavily into land use and conservation discussions and has been extremely relevant to the independence debate.

We soon learned that Glasgow was celebrating its year of Green in 2015, and that there were a number of regeneration projects in the early stages of planning into which the creative integration of renewable energy infrastructure would be a welcome addition. By collaborating with a regeneration consortium on the design brief, LAGI Glasgow could help to inform the planning strategy itself.

With the support of the Glasgow City Council and Scottish Canals, the regeneration site at Port Dundas was identified as the preferred focus area for LAGI Glasgow. Our project partners immediately saw the benefit of using cultural approach to the renewable energy plan to inform the regeneration planning process. With a mandate to deliver a very pragmatic and constructable concept design outcome, we decided on a new competition model that could best leverage local and international expertise, while laying a strong groundwork for implementation.

The LAGI Glasgow project is undertaking research and development to better determine the role of innovative site specific renewable energy infrastructure in 21st century city planning. Community engagement will inform the concept development and seek to address issues of social justice and energy democracy. Primary and secondary school students around Glasgow are participating in the LAGI Youth Design Prize and we'd like to hold an Art+Energy Camp along with a youth ambassador program for 2016 that will provide young Glaswegians the opportunity to learn from the design team directly. Integration of these programs into the design process for Port Dundas is a key component of the overall strategy. Together the LAGI Glasgow project partners hope to set an example for cities around the world to follow, combining creative energy planning and STE(A)M education.

New interdisciplinary teams have been formed, comprising Glasgow-based and overseas expertise. The overseas expertise with extensive knowledge of mainstream and emerging renewables technologies have been drawn from previous teams whose proposals have been shortlisted in LAGI design competitions over the past three cycles (2010 United Arab Emirates, 2012 New York City, and 2014 Copenhagen). Glasgow-based expertise brings an understanding of recent innovative and creative practice, local knowledge and capacity.

We're thrilled by the reception of the LAGI idea in Scotland and by the vision conveyed to us by Glaswegians of their future city. Representatives such as Bailie Elizabeth Cameron are providing us with new perspectives on the relevance of the project and inspiring us with their passion and commitment to sustainable development models that put people at heart of every decision. People make Glasgow, and Glasgow is re-making the land art generator initiative.

LAGI Wins the J.M.K. Innovation Prize

The Land Art Generator Initiative has been awarded the
J.M.K. Innovation Prize, a program of the J.M. Kaplan Fund

"Launched in early 2015, The J.M.K. Innovation Prize was designed to seek out boldly promising ideas in the field of social-sector innovation—however untested or wherever they arise."

We are very fortunate to be one of the ten awardees. We'd like to extend our thanks to, and share this recognition with, the thousands of participants in LAGI design competitions, whose amazing innovations make LAGI possible. The above image is composed of thumbnails of the work that can be seen in the online LAGI portfolio.

The J.M.K. Innovation Prize will allow LAGI to expand consulting and project management work in cities around the world that are seeking creative ways of integrating sustainable infrastructures into regenerative planning and projects.

Over the next few years, LAGI will be working closely with our design partners (past LAGI design competition participants) on the detailed design and construction of many regenerative public art installations at various scales and site contexts.

The Prize will also help to support the 2016 LAGI Design Competition for Southern California. LAGI 2016 is re-imagining the coast of Santa Monica by inviting individuals and interdisciplinary teams to design a large-scale, site-specific work of public art that also serves as clean energy and/or drinking water infrastructure for the City of Santa Monica.

The Importance of LAGI

We’re helping to educate the next generation of artists, architects, engineers, city planners, landscape architects, designers, and scientists, who will find greater innovation through interdisciplinary collaboration and creativity. The LAGI design challenge provides project-based learning in STEM subjects through engagement with art and creativity.

As we work together to design and implement a post-carbon world, the impact of sustainable infrastructures on the constructed environment is becoming an important focus of city planning and architecture. At the same time, a culture war over land use has slowed the implementation of many proposed wind and solar installations.

By engaging communities with an inspiring vision of our sustainable future and providing context-specific solutions for sensitive sites, we would like to help turn the tide of public discourse and bring about universal support for immediate investment in 100% renewable infrastructure.

The J.M.K. Innovation Prize process of selection was its own innovation in philanthropic award management (as a project that designs and runs competitions, it's a subject that LAGI is interested in!). 373 volunteer reviewers were recruited from the Fund’s network to review 1,138 applications from 45 states as well as Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Each application was scored by at least 6 reviewers, after which 202 entries were advanced to the second round. More complete applications were read by subject matter and social innovation experts in disciplines including justice, education, human rights, food systems, public health, energy, natural resources, and the arts.

We congratulate the J.M. Kaplan Fund on their development of the J.M.K. Innovation Prize and thank them for their generous support.

WindNest at the Living Product Expo

LAGI will be at the Living Product Expo September 17 & 18 (2015) at the Pittsburgh Convention Center.

The LAGI founding co-directors will be speaking at the event from 5:45–6:00 pm on Thursday the 18th.

The WindNest 1/4 scale prototype will be displayed along with several past LAGI submissions, showing the world that renewable energy can be beautiful.

About the WindNest Prototype
WindNest is designed by Trevor Lee of Suprafutures to passively rotate to face the wind just like a weather vane. To test the functionality and to experiment with the ball bearing mechanism design, a prototyping team under the direction of GTK Flow Analysis fabricated this 1/4 scale model and subjected it to a series of tests under different wind conditions and speed sequences.

The full-scale installation will incorporate a slip ring to allow for continuous rotation while conducting the electricity produced by the turbines and solar fabric.

The prototype also provides the opportunity to experiment with the structure of the cloud pods and will assist with the design of the fabric skin.

WindNest prototype being installed at the Living Product Expo from Land Art Generator Initiative on Vimeo.

About the Living Product Expo
In early April, 2015, the Living Future Institute launched the Living Product Challenge. This new program re-imagines the design and construction of products to function as elegantly and efficiently as anything found in the natural world. The Living Product Expo is a groundbreaking new event that will bring together leading minds in the product industry and ignite a revolution in the way materials are designed, manufactured and delivered. Sustainability directors from the world’s leading design firms, prominent manufacturers and sustainability consultants will gather to learn about game-changing innovations in product design.

The Expo will assemble a diverse group of people, industries and disciplines. Together, we will engage in a transparent, transdisciplinary and transformative dialogue to inspire the creation of the world’s first Living Products. Participants will gain new tools, knowledge and connections to effect positive change in their organizations and supply chains.

The Living Product Expo is the world’s leading place for design and manufacturing professionals to learn about game-changing products that will transform the marketplace. It will be a unique opportunity for manufacturers and designers (of all sizes) to network, learn from one another and aggregate market power to create transformative impact. Attendees will experience a stimulating agenda of education tracks, inspiring keynote presentations, tours, networking and Show + Tell product demonstrations showcasing the latest trends in sustainable products.

Art+Energy = Camp

For the past six weeks we have had the great fortune of spending every weekday with 20 of the most brilliant kids in Pittsburgh’s Homewood neighborhood. Yesterday, we all celebrated the final outcome of the Camp—Renaissance Gate, Pittsburgh’s newest work of public art and a 4.1 kWp solar energy installation on Frankstown Avenue.

The artwork helps to power to Homewood Renaissance Association’s new community center next door and provides passersby with a place where they can charge their cellphone during the day while catching some shade under the armatures of the installation.

The form of the artwork was inspired by the shape of the violet flower and by the way that the existing unused marquee at the site resembled a kind of gateway. The campers were already familiar with the concept of the Torii Gates of Japan, which symbolize a spiritual passage or journey. Renaissance Gate, the kids decided, would be a passageway to a new Homewood—a community of hope and progress, or what Free Blackwell, the Executive Director of Homewood Renaissance Association likes to call, "the most livable neighborhood in the most livable city."

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto imparted even more meaning to the title of the artwork when he spoke at the August 13th opening ceremony just before cutting the red ribbon. He reminded us that the original renaissance in Europe marked a turning point from a period of fear and violence to a period of progress and hope in the future. It was the marriage of the arts and sciences that made Europe’s renaissance possible. The Art + Energy Summer Camp is an expression of the power of that combination and the importance of STEM to STEAM initiatives in education.

Over the course of the six week Camp the participants, ages 8–17, learned about energy science, art, and design.

Week one consisted of field trips to understand the existing landscape of energy production and consumption in Western Pennsylvania. We visited the Bruce Mansfield coal-fired power plant and the Beaver Valley nuclear power plant. We spent a day at Eden Hall, Chatham University’s sustainability campus where we saw a large solar installation at work and learned about solar thermal heat, aquaculture, and on-site wastewater treatment with engineered wetlands.

We visited Conservation Consultants Inc.’s building, one of Pittsburgh’s first green buildings, to learn about energy efficiency and to see their rooftop solar installations. We visited the new Energy Innovation Center to see their ice storage system and other advanced green building technologies. Other field trips included a visit to a local residential solar installation (thanks Fred Kraybill), and Construction Junction and Creative Reuse, where we learned about how to reduce waste streams and divert used goods and products from landfills.

Fun activities expanded vocabulary and engaged campers in the use of energy conversion efficiency and capacity factor to estimate the average annual output of energy installations.

Weeks two through five continued the lessons on art outside the gallery and the steps of the design process. At the same time the campers began to come up with their artistic concept and sketch the form of what would become the Renaissance Gate.

Some worked with paper and dowels on a 1” = 1’-0” scale model of the existing marquee. Others free-form designed with clay, while some of the older kids manipulated the solar panels in Google Sketchup.

A visit from David Edwards, a local artist and inventor, stimulated our imaginations with the endless possibilities of incorporating solar and wind power into artwork.

By the end of week three it was time to meet up with Tim Gerhart, the structural engineer, and Fred Underwood, the solar installer. Their input was invaluable as we worked together on the final design drawings.

During weeks four and five we were in full-swing with the fabrication and installation! VB Fabricators was able to deliver the finished structural steel armatures in a very short amount of time, and by the start of week six Underwood Solar was installing the solar panels and getting everything wired up. The campers really enjoyed being a part of the installation process, from framing up the panels to the aluminum rails, prepping the colorful panels, and even helping to dig the hole in the ground to examine the existing foundation (Imani and Terrell both found this to be their favorite part!).

We finished up just in time for the ribbon-cutting event with Mayor Peduto. We’re so glad that he was able to take the time out of his busy schedule to attend and speak on the importance of renewable energy and energy justice for communities like Homewood. Daniel Moore with the Pittsburgh Post Gazette wrote a great article that captures the energy of that wonderful day.

A highlight of the day's festivities was a live performance of "Solar Energy" an original rap by Jordan Blackwell and DaVontae Garner. You'll definitely want to give it a listen in the player below. It is a brilliant anthem for energy justice.


The kids have been a driving part of the entire process. They have helped with documentation, social media, design, and meetings with consultants. When challenges presented themselves, the campers were there helping us to brainstorm solutions. The outcome for them goes beyond this particular solar artwork. In a sense, we have graduated project managers. It’s our hope that they’ll be able to apply this experience in all walks of life.

And we hope that the Renaissance Gate will be cherished by the community as a symbol of what can be accomplished when we all work together towards a brighter future. As Mya Lane put it, "I feel the Renaissance Gate should inspire the community that in Homewood you don’t always have to use violence—and it’s a very nice community and it should be represented as one. The Renaissance Gate should stand for peace, non-violence, truth, justice. It should bring us and make us realize that we are all the same and one big family."

We’re so grateful to our funders who made this project possible: Heinz Endowments, Google Community Grants, and Three Rivers Community Foundation.

Art + Energy Camp is a collaboration between the Land Art Generator Initiative (Elizabeth Monoian and Robert Ferry), Homewood Renaissance Association (Free Blackwell, Executive Director, and Rodney Heard, Camp Teacher), and Conservation Consultants Inc.(Indigo Raffel).

Thanks to all of our camp participants: Jordan Blackwell, Canaan Blackwell, Adrian Nanji, Ewane Nanji, Thomas Bowens, Mya Lane, Sarai Robinson, Emani Jones, Elizabeth Blackwell, Jordan Woods, DaVontae Garner, Terrell Williams, Lamonte Farrish, Cameron Jennings, Madison Wilson, Erin Shealy, Caleb Williams, Imani Nanji, Elisha Blackwell, Jasmine Berry, with teachers Rodney Heard, Indigo Raffel, Robert Ferry, and Elizabeth Monoian.

For more photos and information, please visit artenergycamp.org.

Renewable Energy from Evaporation!

Understanding this research coming out of Columbia University, might make your mind explode. The implications of this are potentially far-reaching, but the research is still in an early stage and just beginning to get public attention. It doesn't even have a name really yet. How about "evaportricity"?

Wherever there is water there is evaporation. It happens all the time, sun up and sun down. It is a manifestation of the molecular energy that exists in all water above absolute zero. Until now, the power of this natural phenomenon has never been converted into other forms of energy. This new research is showing us that evaporation energy can be successfully converted to kinetic energy (and then into electrical energy) and that the technology can be scaled.

From Nanowerk News:

When evaporation energy is scaled up, the researchers predict, it could one day produce electricity from giant floating power generators that sit on bays or reservoirs, or from huge rotating machines akin to wind turbines that sit above water, said Ozgur Sahin, Ph.D., an associate professor of biological sciences and physics at Columbia University and the paper's lead author.

"Evaporation is a fundamental force of nature," Sahin said. "It's everywhere, and it's more powerful than other forces like wind and waves."

As a side benefit to this new technology, wherever it is installed (ideally on the surface of a body of water) it keeps water in a closed loop without releasing it to the air. In other words, this technology could be installed on top of water reservoirs to generate electricity while also conserving water. They are still a long way from commercializing this, and they will need to move beyond the use of spores, but still it is impressive.

Who can imagine what these evaportricity infrastructures will look like when they are scaled up to power our cities?!

GE ecoROTR Gives Interesting Aesthetic Shift to Wind Farms

In Tehachapi California a new experiment in wind power is being tested. GE is applying a large dome at the rotor hub of three-blade horizontal axis wind turbines. The 60 ft. diameter space frame attachment channels the wind to the perimeter of the rotor where it produces more power.

The 20,000 lb structure can help to increase the power output of existing turbines by around 3%, which has the potential to bring the cost of wind power down significantly below its already low cost. Interestingly, it could also impact the form of future blades, allowing them to be designed for greater output without increasing the overall diameter of the rotor. This is important because the size of wind turbines has increased to the point where it is already very difficult to transport the blades to installation sites.

The ecoROTR is in some way like the Compact Acceleration Wind Turbine (CWAT) experiments that channel the wind to the blades from the perimeter of the rotor, but instead it is working at the center, which potentially means less material cost. The added material cost of the CWAT rings has made it difficult for them to compete in the marketplace.

Of course LAGI is in favor of the compact acceleration idea being applied to public art applications and many past LAGI submissions have incorporated some variation of it.

We're really excited about this advancement. It's not every day that there is such a dramatic shift in the form of wind turbine design. If the ecoROTR experiment proves successful it could have a reverberating impact on the design of our energy landscapes. As these new rotor hubs are added on and as blades take new shapes, future wind turbines may look very different than current models. The elegantly thin profile of today's turbines are nice, but perhaps there are opportunities here for creativity?

We modified the image below just ever so slightly to get a feel for what might be possible for the turbine proboscis of the future!

via This Captain America-Style Shield Makes Wind Turbines More Powerful

“Airway” El Paso, TX

Airway by Artist Vicki Scuri
Image from Forecast Public Art © Vicki Scuri

We were awed yesterday on our way through El Paso, Texas yesterday when we drove through this dynamic piece that frames the I-10 corridor near the airport. It was that perfect time of day when the lighting was set off against a deep blue sky. The vertical axis wind turbines with overlapping blades in perspective provides a complicated visual moiré effect that reveals its secret as you pass through the installation.

Airway by Artist Vicki Scuri
Image from Forecast Public Art © Vicki Scuri

It is very likely that this artwork generates more electricity than it requires to light itself, although that is not a figure that is cited in the articles that we could find online about the piece.

The artist, Vicki Scuri, says that she was inspired by aeronautical forms and by the shape of desert plants.

Below is our guess regarding the desert plant she's referring to. It is ubiquitous in that part of the southwest and it's really beautiful.

Flowering Soaptree Yucca (Yucca Elata)

Other articles with more information about the artwork:
nice video at the bottom


Vortex Bladeless

Image: Copyright Vortex Bladeless

Vortex Bladeless wind power is making big waves this week with articles in Wired and The Verge. Check out those articles for more information about the technology and some insightful comments from the Vortex team.

We've been following Vortex for some time with the hopes that 1. the full scale installations will be wildly successful, and 2. they will inspire creative applications of wind energy installations that can be placemaking contributions. Who wouldn't want to hang out in a park with these simple and elegant objects?

Photo: Copyright Dia Art Foundation, New York

We also think it's interesting to compare the formal expression of a field of these Vortex Bladeless installations to that of The Lightning Field, 1977. Walter De Maria's sublime land art work is the kind of art that inspired us to conceive of the Land Art Generator Initiative in 2008. The piece in the high desert of western New Mexico incorporates 400 polished stainless steel poles in a grid array measuring one mile by one kilometer. It is intended by the artist to be experienced over a long period of time and visits to the site require an overnight stay. While the gesture to the sky from the earth seems in our minds to be a temptation to lightning, we do not need to witness a lightning strike to have a full experience of the artwork.

We're looking forward to the day that someone catches a photo of lightning striking the Vortex Bladeless array (although that will probably require some repair work).

Vortex Bladeless uses the phenomenon of vorticity to generate vibrations that are converted into electricity.

LAGI 2016 STEAM Prize

We are pleased to announce that in addition to our professional design competition in 2016 we will also be holding a special STEAM Prize for students. Get more information at http://youth.landartgenerator.org. And check back on August 15th to get started!

Thanks to all of our partners and to our wonderful team—experts in public art and education. Together we are getting ready for the August 15, 2015 launch of the complete Youth Design Brief and a complete Toolkit for Educators that will guide students and teachers through the design process from start to finish, and that is aligned with the most up to date educational standards in STEAM subjects.

The Toolkit will contain a series of fun activities like the LAGI Idea Generator Game that will help students design their own land art generator artworks. In addition to this Toolkit, we are available to help you every step of the way.

Please reach out to us with any questions you may have.

Bringing STEAM education to middle school and high school youth seamlessly through the arts is an engaging way to instill an early interest in the scientific method, provide useful technical skills, and introduce systems thinking. Our goal is to build a global community of young people who are inspired and equipped to design the landscape of our clean energy future.

LAGI 2016 STEAM PRIZE Objectives

  • Examine and comprehend interdisciplinary information about public art and energy generation
  • Identify, describe, and analyze the ways in which electricity is generated and consumed
  • Learn about energy conservation
  • Learn about different types of energy generation technologies
  • Apply aesthetic decisions pertaining to color, line, and form in the conceptualization of new machines for energy generation
  • Understand the difference between peak capacity and productive output for different renewable energy technologies
  • Apply capacity factor to determine estimated annual outputs based on nameplate capacity
  • Successfully guide students through the design and engineering process in order to conceptualize an artwork that utilizes renewable energy technologies

Meets these academic practices

  • Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them
  • Model with mathematics
  • Attend to precision
  • Use appropriate tools strategically
  • Integrate the Engineering Design process

Interview with Katie Henry, LAGI 2016 STEM Education Consultant

Katie Henry is a super star teacher at Brookville Intermediate in Ohio. We have so much admiration and respect for her teaching strategies and we are learning a lot from our collaboration with her during the planning of our LAGI 2016 STEM educational outreach programming. If you want to learn more about cutting-edge educational leadership strategies, please take the time to watch this wonderful interview.

WindNest Pittsburgh Project Updates

The WindNest team continues to grow and the project keeps getting better as the engineering details are worked out. Schematic design is now complete and the public approval process is underway with the City of Pittsburgh.

Trevor Lee at Suprafutures has done an excellent job of adapting the concept to its new site and the design continues to evolve in response to stakeholder and engineering feedback.

A revised completion date has been established for the Spring of 2016.

Please check back here for updates. We'll provide a complete list of project partners and a detailed timeline once the project has the green light from the City.

We recently completed the fabrication of the prototype of one of the "nests" at approximately 1/4 scale. Thanks goes to Chris Williams at Steeltown Design for putting it together. We'll begin testing as soon as the weather breaks in Pittsburgh. The results, along with a desktop computational fluid dynamic model analysis, will inform the next stages of design.

The prototype was built purely to measure performance. Lots of shortcuts in fabrication. Final version will look much more like the renderings and we are engineering the skin to not have the ribbing effect on the fabric.

Thanks to Deborah Hosking for shooting and editing this fun video of us moving the prototype to its winter storage location.

New Energies: Land Art Generator Initiative, Copenhagen

New Energies is the beautiful hardcover book that catalogs the LAGI 2014 design competition for Copenhagen. It is available at many bookstores, and online at such outlets as RIBA and Amazon.

The book contains engaging essays by Annette Skov ("The Glowing Island" A History of Refshaleøen); Laura Watts and Brit Ross Winthereik ("Energy as Alien"); Trine Plambech, Johanne Mose Entwistle, and Liselott Stenfeldt ("The Human Approach to Sustainability"); Peter Karnøe ("Danish Wind Power: A Journey Beyond Imagination" A History from 1893 to the Present); Chris Fremantle ("Working Together"); Else Marie Bukdahl ("Visual Art and the Ecological Challenge: About Some of the First Creators and Their Influence"); Lea Schick and Anne Sophie Witzke ("Generating Futures: LAGI as an Imaginatorium"); and an introduction by Elizabeth Monoian and Robert Ferry, the founding directors of LAGI.

It also illustrates 64 of the incredible proposals for energy-generating public artworks that came in from around the world in response to the LAGI 2014 open call.

The beautiful design is by Paul Schifino (Schifino Design), who also provided the graphic vision for the LAGI 2012 book, Regenerative Infrastructures.

On the Copenhagen harbor, across from the iconic Little Mermaid statue, lies an expanse of open land—a brownfield that is the oldest part of the former Burmeister & Wain shipbuilding yards. It’s the site of the third Land Art Generator Initiative design competition, which brings together creative minds from around the world in a collective effort to challenge our preconceptions of what renewable energy generation looks like. The Land Art Generator Initiative, or LAGI, was created to encourage the design and construction of public art installations that have the added benefit of utility-scale clean energy generation.

Sixty-four of the LAGI Copenhagen competition entries are profiled in this book through detailed spreads that include renderings, illustrations, and diagrams. Seven essays explore the role of creativity in the conception of new energy landscapes and provide insights into sustainable infrastructure innovations in Denmark. New Energies provides a much-needed case study on how we can transform our urban brownfields into aesthetic and functional destinations that power hundreds of homes while providing places for recreation and contemplation within our urban environments.

Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Prestel (November 12, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 3791353691
ISBN-13: 978-3791353692

LAGI 2014 Green Cities Special Jury Prize

For LAGI 2014 we invited teams to learn more about the Green Cities municipalities in Denmark. Because Green Cities municipalities do their utmost to maintain, protect, and improve the environment while working towards creating a long-term sustainable local community, the partnership with LAGI was a perfect fit.

Although outside of the context of the competition — and not related to the LAGI 2014 design brief or jury criteria — we invited teams to visit the Green Cities section of the LAGI design competition site, learn more about their initiatives, and possibly even use their content as inspiration for designs that were in addition to submissions for LAGI 2014.

The four municipalities of Albertslund, Allerød, Herning, and Kolding have all expressed interest in working with LAGI & LAGI participants.

See the special call for LAGI Green Cities participation here.

We are very pleased to announce that after receiving unique design ideas from LAGI 2014 participants for the Green Cities, a special jury prize has been announced by the municipalities. On October 23 at the Green Cities Conference Riccardo Mariano was awarded 2000 Euro for his design "Herning Energy Promenade."

Artists: Riccardo Mariano, Salvatore Maraniello
Artist Location: Berlin, Germany
Energy Technologies: vertical axis wind turbines, Pavegen™ pavers
Annual Capacity: 500 MWh

View the design boards.

About Green Cities

Green Cities is a binding partnership of member municipalities in Denmark intended to provide inspiration for the development of climate and environmental policies. The member municipalities are geographically representative of the entire country and have track records of setting ambitious goals on their own.

The work of Green Cities is founded on the members’ pooled experience, which creates a strong framework for the municipalities’ work within the fields of climate and environment. In fact, Green Cities meets a specific need: at regular intervals the municipalities of Denmark hit an impenetrable wall of regulations and economic barriers. This effectively prevents the individual local authorities from realizing their sustainability goals on their own. Because citizens have high expectations for climate and environmental policy from their municipalities, Green Cities assists in working through these barriers to achieve real outcomes, and helps to advance political debate with regard to opportunities at the municipal level.

The Green Cities Partnership is built on six common themes and a series of exacting goals, towards the achievement of which member municipalities are obliged to work. The Green Cities Partnership is based on a partnership agreement, which was approved in 2012. The six common themes are: Climate, Groundwater, Organic Food, Natural Environment, Traffic, and Waste.

Read more about the common themes and goals on the Green Cities website.

LAGI is delighted to continue our partnership with the Green Cities in Denmark!

Stephen Hurrel

While in Glasgow this week we had the pleasure of meeting Stephen Hurrel, a contemporary visual artist who works across all kinds of media and exploring a wide range of scientific collaborations, from marine ecology to seismic activity. His work is exquisite and we recommend checking out his newly redesigned website: http://www.hurrelvisualarts.com/.

In 2003, Stephen created The Sound of the Wind Looks Like This. The light-based installation reacts directly to wind speed and wind direction, and is powered by the wind.

Photos from the 2014 LAGI Award Ceremony, and “New Energies” Exhibition/Book Launch

Thank you to everyone who came out to the LAGI 2014 award ceremony at the Design Society to see the opening of the exhibition and the awards ceremony. For those of you who were unable to make it, below are some photos from the night. The exhibition will be up until November 7 so for those of you who plan to be in Copenhagen between now and then, please stop by. The Danish Design Centre is a wonderful place to visit, just across from Tivoli Garden. Thanks goes out to Maria, Birte, Kamilla, Morton, and Bobby and everyone at the Danish Design Centre for helping to make the event and the exhibition possible.

The three winning teams with Connie Hedegaard, EU Commissioner of Climate Action, who gave an inspiring talk on climate change and handed the awards to the winners that night. From left to right: Antonio Maccà (Third Place Winner with eMotions), Mateusz Góra and Agata Gryszkiewicz (Second Place Winning Team with Quiver), Connie Hedegaard, and Santiago Muros Cortés (First Place Winner with The Solar Hourglass).

From left to right: Trine Plambech (Alexandra Institute), Lea Schick (IT University), and Natalie Mossin (Partner at Smith Innovation and Head of the Danish Architects' Association).

The Supercloud Team!

Marilu Valente, designer of Aetherius.

Thanks to our Media Partner, Shawati' Magazine!

Connie Hedegaard with Santiago Muros Cortés, the designer of The Solar Hourglass (First Place Winner of LAGI 2014)

Thanks to Deborah Hosking for all of the amazing video work that is on display at the Exhibit, and for taking many of the photos in this blog post!

A big thanks to CPH Steel for fabricating the steel frames for the exhibition! They turned out more beautiful than we could have imagined and match our sketches exactly.

And a huge thank you to Vester Kopi who printed all of the boards for the exhibit. They do really great work!

The beginning of the setup. Thanks to Gry Lund, LAGI 2014 project manager for helping to coordinate many of the details on the ground in Copenhagen.