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  • Lunar Cubit Wins First Place in Land Art Generator Initiative 2010 UAE Public Art and Energy Design Competition

    Published on January 20, 2011

    United Arab Emirates :  The winning team of the 2010 Land Art Generator Initiative design competition was announced at an award ceremony at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi. The team members, Robert Flottemesch, Adrian P. DeLuca, Johanna Ballhaus, and Jen DeNike were all on hand to receive the award from Dr. Nawal Al Hosany, Associate Director, Sustainability for Masdar on behalf of Masdar and the Land Art Generator Initiative.

    The four team members are the designers behind Lunar Cubit, which is the title of the public art concept design which took top prize as determined by the jury. Lunar Cubit examines the nature of time through nightly contemplation of lunar phases and daily transformation of sunlight into electricity. The concept, which fuses energy generation and public art, is designed to be open to the public, inviting a personal experience where one can literally reach out and touch a 1.74MW (enough to power 250 homes) utility-scale power plant that takes the form of nine monolithic pyramids rising from the sands of Abu Dhabi.

    The artwork is conceived of as a monthly calendar, allowing viewers to measure time through the eight lunar phases represented by a ring of eight pyramids encircling one central pyramid. All nine are proportional to the Great Pyramid of Cheops in Giza and scaled using the royal cubit. But they’re not made from stone; they’re made of glass and amorphous silicon, giving them the appearance of onyx polished to a mirror finish. The work of art, should it be constructed would be energy positive within five years and pay back its cost of construction through the megawatt-hours of clean, renewable energy that it produces.

    Lunar Cubit illuminates in an inversely proportional relationship to the lunar cycle so that the work becomes most fully lit during the night of a new moon. Accompanying the centre pyramid is a corresponding outer pyramid, clearly marking the lunar phase like the hand of a clock; light forever rising and falling as the moon spins around earth. Data monitoring will be accessible on site and remotely via a web application so that everyone can follow in real time how much energy is being generated, thus serving as a tool for education and public awareness of the great potential for renewable energy.

    The presentation of the first prize award marks the culmination of the 2010 Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI), a first-of-its-kind venture that has brought together global artists, architects, scientists, landscape architects, and engineers to conceive of renewable energy generating public art installations for Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The international competition received hundreds of entries from over 40 countries in its inaugural year. The announcement of the winning design is the next step towards the eventual construction of the first ever in the world large-scale public artwork that will generate utility-scale electricity for city consumption.

    Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s multi-faceted initiative advancing the development, commercialisation and deployment of renewable and alternative energy technologies and solutions, has sponsored the first prize award and has hosted the winning team in Abu Dhabi for the occasion.

    Commenting on the award, Robert Flottemesch stated, “We are deeply honoured to be recognized as winners of the LAGI competition. We are grateful for the tremendous support of Masdar in sponsoring the competition and so generously hosting us at the WFES. I look forward to making this project a reality and contributing to the future of renewable energy in Abu Dhabi.”

    LAGI is currently seeking partnership for the next stage, construction. Once complete, the selected design will be the first of its kind and will become a tourist destination that draws people from around the world to experience the beauty of the collaborative art creation. At the same time, the art itself has the potential to provide clean power to thousands of homes in the UAE, and set an educational example of the potentials that exist for sustainable development in the 21st century. Over time, the constructed works of public art will pay back both their carbon construction footprint and their installation cost making them the perfect investment in our future.

    Visitors to the World Future Energy Summit, which is open through the 20th of January, can see beautiful renderings of Lunar Cubit and many other amazing entries to the 2010 LAGI competition. All of the designs have also been posted to a portfolio section on the LAGI web site, landartgenerator.org.

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