Land Art Generator


Land Art Generator

Solar Loop

“Solar Loop” is composed of two different material surfaces that twist one into the other. A continuous photovoltaic mega-panel wraps the structure, designed and positioned to optimize sun exposure throughout the year. The second, a mirrored surface, reflects the repurposed landscape. This concept can be built on a small scale for living space, or much larger (pictured here) for an arena for concert: and sporting events, providing shade, energy, and a cultural resource. Aesthetically, “Solar Loop” serves as a link between the Manhattan skyline and the natural beauty of Fresh Kills.

Wind Grazers

(Opposite) Rather than relying on burning methane gas collected from decaying sub-surface debris to generate energy, this project proposes a field of aerial turbines that will harvest wind power at altitudes as high as 2,000 feet.

The Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) challenges artists, architects, scientists, landscape architects, engineers, and others to develop installations that uniquely combine aesthetics with utility-scale clean energy generation. The project can be subdivided into four main areas of focus: events and design competition; education; outreach; and the eventual construction of a renewable energy infrastructure.

Featured here are several entries submitted to the 2013 LAGI competition held in partnership with New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, which called for proposals to transform what was once the world’s largest landfill at Freshkills Park, Staten Island, New York City, into a productive and beautiful cultural destination.

More entries can be viewed at Images Courtesy of the Land Art Generator Initiative.

Butterfly Project

From above it looks like an immense butterfly landing on a field. The wings are formed by numerous smaller butterflies which in turn function as solar cells.

A network of paths connect at a central point. The symbol of the butterfly is used in this project to represent the metamorphosis of Fresh Kills from a landfill to a clean, natural environment.

Ecosocial Imaginary

This project features an irregular grid of methane well vents which emerge from the ground at approximately 200-foot intervals. Between the vents, a secondary grid of solar panels is held aloft by a metal framework. These panels are angled to maximize solar exposure while providing shade and shelter. From a distance the structure seems to rise from the surrounding landscape.


99 Red Balloons

Inspired by the lyrics of the 1984 song of the same name, this project proposes covering the North Park section of Freshkills with 99 floating photovoltaic solar generators tethered to resin poles and anchored to the ground by steel plinths. The balloons are 50 feet tall and 40 feet wide; their tops float 100 feet in the air to fully engage the sun’s rays. An array of raised boardwalks with piezoelectric panels meander through the site collecting energy as visitors explore the landscape. When stepped on, a sensor is triggered and the nearest ballon fades from red to transparent, revealing the solar harvesting systems hidden within the balloon cavity. This interaction between people and the installation invites visitors to reflect on the history of the site and the impact a single human being can have on the environment.


Thousands of airborne wind turbines are embedded in conic hair follicles, which are applied to a large, tear-shaped balloon’s curved surface. The “normal axis wind turbines”, a new design intended to reflect scientific innovation and aesthetic beauty, are light, interchangeable, and have a low embodied energy. Because each balloon is held aloft by the buoyancy of helium gas, only minimal foundations are required for tie-downs, resulting in less disruption of the site.


Transparent tree structures incorporate photovoltaic cells to generate electricity.

In addition, the walkways incorporate piezoelectric cells that generate electricity when visitors walk on them. LED lights along the walkway are illuminated when electricity is being generated so that visitors are aware of their contribution to energy production.


A network of three-legged modules rises out of the prairie grass collecting the abundant solar energy that shines down on Staten Island. Heliofield uses large, heavy feet as anchors and thin legs to elevate the photovoltaic panels and deliver electricity throughout the system. In addition, functional amenities are designed to encourage emerging populations of small mammals, birds, insects, and plants to supplement the limited habitat of the former landfill. After sunset, Heliofield transitions from the solar power plant to nighttime spectacle. Insects from the five boroughs are attracted by the mysterious blue glow created by the OLED (organic light- emitting diode) lights that are integrated into every solar module.

Energy Filter

At the heart of this concept is a “fog cage” structure made from a non-rusting metal frame and a skin of solar panels. Normal rainfall and ocean humidity combine with warm soil temperatures caused by the decaying landfill to create an environment of continuous evaporation, which is caught and converted into electricity. The units harness additional power from ocean winds while also serving as a wind break. “Fog cages” are both movable and recycleable. As economic need develops, individual units can grow upward and spread across the landscape creating shelter and shade resembling a natural forest. At night the solar film skin illuminates the surrounding parkland.

Plan Bee

Conceptually centered on the beehive, Plan Bee employs biomimetic strategies and biomorphic aesthetics. Airborne wind energy unleashes the blade, or wing, of a turbine from its fixed structure and allows lit to appear to fly. When the wind builds to ten miles per hour, the colony of bee-kites rise from their perches. Feedback loop controls fly the bee-kites in this energy-collecting pattern until the tethers near a full extension of 350 meters.

Electronic controls automatically depower and retract each kite after a two- to four-minute cycle. Intelligent control systems are equipped with sensors to avoid collisions and choreograph swarm-like movement. At night, phosphorescent threads emit light collected during the day creating a show visible from Manhattan and lasting up to one hour.

Wind Towers

In this proposal energy production is based on an autonomous system that uses basic elements of nature: the sun and the air. Warm air masses rise by convection through chimneys constructed of glass and covered by recycled plastic sheeting. The towers taper from the bottom to the top, creating a high air velocity in the top of the tower, where a turbine converts the energy into electricity. The towers are connected aesthetically to the verticality of the New York City skyline.

Solar Coaster

A raised, sloping platform made predominately from recycled aluminum and sneakers connects a large green space surrounding Fresh Kills with a wildlife refuge. Kinetic convertors and solar collectors within the platform gather energy from both runners and the sun. As an energy-producing sculpture, the Coaster promotes awareness of energy sustainability within the context of nature.

Cite this Article

"Land Art Generator." Issues in Science and Technology 30, no. 1 (Fall 2013).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CAPTCHA Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.