December 28, 2012
by Canadian Architect
The main goal of the Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) is to design and construct public art installations that have the added benefit of large-scale clean energy generation. Each sculpture will continuously distribute clean energy into the electrical grid, with each having the potential to provide power to thousands of homes.
In January of 2010, LAGI put out their first international call to artists, architects, scientists and engineers to come up with both aesthetic and pragmatic solutions for the 21st century energy crisis. The 2010 LAGI design competition was held for three sites in the UAE and they received hundreds of submissions from over 40 countries.
In partnership with New York City’s Department of Parks & Recreation, the 2012 Land Art Generator Initiative design competition was held for a site within Freshkills Park (the former Fresh Kills Landfill) in New York City.
LAGI 2012 was an ideas competition to design a site-specific public artwork that, in addition to its conceptual beauty, has the ability to harness energy cleanly from nature and convert it to electricity for the utility grid.
They received 250 submissions from teams around the world. The expansiveness of the design site at Freshkills Park presents the opportunity to power the equivalent of thousands of homes with the artwork. The stunning beauty of the reclaimed landscape and the dramatic backdrop of the Manhattan skyline will provide an opportune setting from which to be inspired, and it offers the perfect environment for a showcase example of the immense potential of aesthetically interesting renewable energy installations for sustainable urban planning.
At 2,200 acres, Freshkills Park will be almost three times the size of Central Park and the largest park developed in New York City in over 100 years. The transformation of what was formerly the world’s largest landfill into a productive and beautiful cultural destination will make the park a symbol of renewal and an expression of how our society can restore balance to its landscape.
According to a statement by Freshkills Park: “In addition to providing a wide range of recreational opportunities, including many uncommon in the city, the park’s design, ecological restoration and cultural and educational programming will emphasize environmental sustainability and a renewed public concern for our human impact on the earth.”
The first-place winner for LAGI 2012 is Scene-Sensor // Crossing Social and Ecological Flows by James Murray and Shota Vashakmadze of Atlanta. In the submission, 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.
Taking second place was Fresh Hills by Matthew Rosenberg, along with structural engineering consultant Matt Melnyk and production assistants Emmy Maruta and Robbie Eleazer of Los Angeles. The undulating mounds of Fresh Hills on approach appear to be natural elements growing from the earth. The closer one gets, however, it is clear that this structure, like the mounds below it, are not native to the recently capped Fresh Kills Landfill site. Its form rests lightly on the existing topography and creates definition across the expansive horizon. It caresses the east mound, creating a seamless integration between utility-scale energy harnessing and a program-filled landscape. It creates a harmonious relationship between earth and wind. Fresh Hills is a remedy for the typical turbine farm that so often isolates the landscape and discourages communities from engaging the space.
PIVOT by Yunxin Hu and Ben Smith of Atlanta received a third-place mention and 99 Red Balloons by Emeka Nnadi, Scott Rosin, Meaghan Hunter, Danielle Loeb, Kara McDowell, Indrajit Mitra, Narges Ayat and Denis Fleury of Winnipeg was honoured by a fourth-place mention.
For more information on the competition and project submissions, please visit http://landartgenerator.org/competition.html.
"Fresh Hills" by Matthew Rosenberg, along with structural engineering consultant Matt Melnyk and production assistants Emmy Maruta and Robbie Eleazer of Los Angeles.