Participants from more than 50 countries submitted concept proposals to the 2018 Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) competition, but only NH Architecture and the collaboration team were deemed victorious for their entry; Light Up – a large-scale public art and urban design initiative that produces clean energy.
Designed in collaboration with Ark Resources, John Bahoric Design and RMIT Architecture, the proposal combines solar, wind, plant fuel-cell energy harvesting, and battery storage into the landscape of this year’s site, the St Kilda Foreshore.
NH Architecture said the design response was a lightweight tensile structure formed of approximately 8,600 solar panels that would create a light-filtering canopy over Jacka Boulevard, providing shade for visitors and improving links between existing public, pedestrian and street networks.
The firm also states that Light Up has the potential to produce up to 2,220-megawatt hours of clean energy annually for the St Kilda Triangle site, enough to power nearly 500 Australian homes as well as Luna Park and the Palais.
LAGI co-founders Elizabeth Monoian and Robert Ferry applauded Light Up’s pragmatic design and celebrated its strong visual impact.
“The form of a draping tapestry creates a timeless and instantly recognisable image for St Kilda that complements existing landmarks without competing with them. With such a large component of the artwork spanning Jacka Boulevard, Light Up manages to create one large functional park space that flows from the Palais forecourt to the beach. The experience of traversing the park will be like walking through a flowing stream of solar energy,” they shared.
NH Senior Associate and Project Lead, Martin Heide, also said the street is such a big divider between the beach and the Triangle site, and they thought, ‘what if we actually use that street and turn it into a positive?’.
The structure would be constructed with a series of Vierendeel trusses and cross-tension cables, with the majority of the power being generated by highly efficient and flexible solar photovoltaic panels.
Further to this, the proposal includes wind power generated by the swaying bridge and microbial fuel cells. Lithium-ion cells from used electric car batteries embedded in the handrails of the bridge would store excess energy generated by the panels, allowing this extra energy to be fed back into the grid.
Lastly, it was central to the team’s planning to create a proposal which fully utilised existing technologies, where a high return on investment was possible due to the economy of scale. All components used in Light Up are tried and tested and already available on the market.