Architecture, Art, Greenspace February 14, 2011 By Jordan Sayle

Image Courtesy of Robert Flottemesch. <strong>(Click for slideshow)</strong>

Image Courtesy of Robert Flottemesch. (Click for slideshow)

The purpose of the competition is to develop models for public works of art that also incorporate functioning renewable energy elements. For Flottemesch, who initially conceived of Lunar Cubit five years ago, the contest was a serendipitous opportunity to share something that he had been thinking about for quite a while. An artist by training and a solar electric engineer by trade in New York’s Hudson Valley, he has long been interested in applying new aesthetic features to the normally utilitarian methods of solar system design. In order to find the right approach for this project, he reveals that artistic considerations ultimately took precedence:
“I had to stop thinking about how well Lunar Cubit functioned as renewable technology and only think about it as a piece of art for the concept to really be moving,” he says of his planning process. “And as it turns out, when you calculate how much it is generating, it’s actually quite efficient.”
With the idea that he finally arrived upon some 4,500 years after the famous pyramids of Giza took shape along the banks of the Nile, Flottemesch pays homage to that historic feat of human engineering while making use of materials that will likely represent an important part of our architectural future. The solar panels that constitute the outer walls of these latter-day monuments are capable of generating enough electricity to power up to 250 homes, based on the rates of usage in the artist’s native New York State. There is also the possibility that once built on the proposed site, Lunar Cubit would supply part of the energy demands for the adjacent Masdar City, a zero carbon city in its initial stages of development, expanding the range of the project’s practical effectiveness that much further.

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