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These Stunning Designs Have An Earth-Friendly Secret

Innovative technology, socially responsible design, and functionality can coexist beautifully

California has a serious water problem. In 2016, the state marked the fifth consecutive year of severe drought. Though the headlines have faded, the issue has not, and one group is putting it on full artistic display.

Land Art Generator Initiative, an organization dedicated to spark conversation, inspire, and educate the public through design, held its biennial ideas competition in Santa Monica, California, on October 6. The designs, submitted by artists from all over the word, must consist of a three-dimensional sculptural form that stimulates the viewer, generates clean energy and/or drinking water, and demonstrates a pragmatic approach. Designs— not to exceed 80 meters in height—must adhere to the constraints of the location plan and site boundary, must be safe for audiences to view, and must not create greenhouse emissions or pollution.


Gone are the days of clunky, black solar panels. We are in a new age where innovative technology, socially responsible design, and functionality can coexist beautifully, and the LAGI competitions submissions embody this sentiment. Here are the 2016 winners and five of our favorite finalists from the 2016 competition:

A submission to the 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative design competition for Santa Monica.

First Place

Hailing from Tokyo, Japan, first place winners Christopher Sjoberg and Ryo Saito created Regatta H2O—a structure that annually produces 70 megawatt-hours (MWh) of energy through wind extraction and collects 112 million liters of drinking water through its fog-harvesting mesh construction.

A submission to the 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative design competition for Santa Monica.

Second Place

Cetacea, created by Keegan Oneal, Sean Link, Caitlin Vanhauer, and Colin Poranski from the University of Oregon, was awarded second place. Cetacea can provide 11.9 MWh of energy daily through wind, wave, and solar energy. This energy is proposed to power the existing Santa Monica Urban Runoff Recycling Facility, which will in turn provide 2.6 MWh of clean energy and 1.8 million liters of daily potable water for residents.

A submission to the 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative design competition for Santa Monica.

Third Place

Third place was awarded to Christopher Makrinos, Stephen Makrinos, and Alexander Bishop of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for their Paper Boats structure. The sails function as concentrated photovoltaic collectors: the outer shell funnels incoming light through special Fresnel lenses and beneath lays a set of holographic photovoltaic cells that trap sunlight through intricate laser etched patterns. These patterns double to capture light more efficiently and reflect sunlight to give the sails a radiant glow. These technologies are capable of reducing 12,000 pounds of carbon emissions per day and producing 2,400 MWh annually—enough energy to power 28 ferris wheels for one year.

A submission to the 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative design competition for Santa Monica.

Finalist

The Clear Orb—submitted by Jaesik Lim, Ahyoung Lee, Jaeyeol Kim, and Taegu Lim of Seoul, South Korea—is at capacity to produce 3,820 MWh of energy and 2.2 million liters of drinking water annually. The exterior of this 40-meter glass sphere is constructed with transparent luminescent solar concentrators that harness the power needed to attract water into the orb. The entrails of the orb consist of a solar still that provides fresh water through evaporation and condensation. The walls of a 300-meter pathway are lined with information about extinct animals and allow people to learn about the effects of the environment on wildlife and has been aptly named the “contemplation walk.” The exterior walls function as a wave column and generates additional energy to the solar distillation pumps and electrical grid of Santa Monica.

A submission to the 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative design competition for Santa Monica.

Finalist

Cnidaria Halitus was submitted by John Eric Chung, Pablo La Roche, Danxi Zou, Jingyan Zhang, and Tianyi Deng of the Los Angeles-based design consultancy firm CallisonRTKL. Jellyfish-like structures collect and filter water through a centralized pipe system. The water is transported to the center of a Fresnel lens where it evaporates using heat from the sun. The transparent fabric expands and contracts with water vapor and gives the design a life-like quality. Turbines located in the slits are activated by breakwater to generate energy that is used to power the boilers which allows the evaporation process to continue overnight. The combination of these processes can create 600,000 liters of daily potable water, which amounts to 219 million liters of drinking water annually.

A submission to the 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative design competition for Santa Monica.

Finalist

Abdolaziz Khalili, Puya Kalili, Laleh Javaheri, Iman Khalili, and Kathy Kiany of Khalili Engineers submitted The Pipe. This structure generates its own electricity in order to generate 4.5 billion liters of drinking water annually. Solar panels atop of The Pipe provide power to move seawater through an electromagnetic filtration process which creates drinking water that is piped to shore. The Pipe is a great alternative to conventional processes such as reverse osmosis, which generates waste, pollutes water, and uses expensive machinery and excessive electricity.

A submission to the 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative design competition for Santa Monica.

Finalist

Louis Joanne, Anaelle Toquet Etesse, Elba Adriana Bravo, Maria Rojas Alcazar, and Ronan Audebert of Guadalajara, Mexico, created 2000 Lighthouses Over the Sea. Using point absorber buoy wave energy converter technology, this design could generate 4,000 MWh per year. Each of the 2,000 lit columns represent a buoy wave energy converter and will adjust colors to wave intensity to illuminate the Pacific Ocean. As an added bonus, you can see the sun will set through the center of the wheel on Earth Day.

A submission to the 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative design competition for Santa Monica.

Finalist

Daniel Martin de los Rios and Fran Vilar Navarro of Pistach Office in Rotterdam, Netherlands, designed Aurora—an ethereal, cloud-like structure that operates on a closed loop system. It provides 30,000 MWh of clean electricity through a tidal turbine and 100 million liters of drinking water through solar distillation. Instead of a completely separate entity off the coast, Aurora is an integrative addition to the Santa Monica pier—the wooden walkway extends off of the existing pier and symbolizes stability.

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