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.