LAGI prize for Masdar park goes to shape-shifting ‘clouds’

The winner of this year’s Land Art Generator Initiative competition has been announced at the 24th World Energy Congress in Abu Dhabi. The first prize – $40,000 and the possibility that the structure will be built on a new public park within the next phase of Masdar City’s development – went to Starlit Stratus (above) by the NYC-Seoul studio Sunggi Park.

This isn’t one of the entries we highlighted in our preview (and the second-placed project wasn’t one of those we tipped, either). But on reflection (as it were) Starlit Stratus is a perfect example of the LAGI approach. The design uses a tessellation of solar modules that change their appearance, transforming from high-level cloud-like panels during the day into glowing orbs at night. It would also generate 2,484 MWh of clean energy each year.

It’s very attractive, and some of the extras are very clever too. For instance, excess accumulated energy is used to collect moisture from the air for use as drinking water or as a cooling mist.

Starlit Stratus in energy-harvesting mode, floating above the park and shading its users

Second place and $10,000 went to Sun Flower by Ricardo Solar Lezama, Viktoriya Kovaleva, and Armando Solar. This is another shape-shifter, a kinetic sculpture that collects and stores energy during the day through solar panels in its petals, which unfold in a performance at each setting sun. Some of the energy generated is used to open up the petals during the day; the petals close up at night, illuminated to become a kind of giant lantern.

Sun Flower during the day, casting shade and collecting solar energy; and (below) closed up in its nighttime configuration

Sun Flower would have a more modest contribution to the grid of 1,400 MWh per year. How modest? Well, DEWA reckons each Dubai citizen consumes about 20 MWh annually; so Sun Flower could handle the needs of 70 averagely profligate Dubians. Masdar’s inhabitants will presumably be more circumspect in their demands.

Robert Ferry, LAGI Founding Co-Director, suggested that the shift away from fossil fuels “provides the perfect platform for creatives to sit at the helm of designing our energy landscapes.

“The entries to LAGI 2019 Abu Dhabi for Masdar City show us how we can design new cultural landmarks with our new energy infrastructures – places that can stand for generations and serve as lasting monuments to this important time in human history.”

Nearly 300 submissions were received from 65 countries for LAGI 2019 Abu Dhabi. Of those, 28 teams were shortlisted and their designs are currently on show at the World Energy Congress, running to 12 September at ADNEC.

More about the Land Art Generator Initiative is here.

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