Solar Shift is our submission to the request for proposals for an exterior art piece for the new Evansville Arena. Our proposal looks at the large public outdoor space in combination with concepts of sustainable interactive lighting. The Arena was looking for innovative work that spoke to the community and would act as an icon for the entire city. As one member of PROJECTiONE is an Evansville native, we wanted to offer up a forward-looking submission that could be pair with the progressive direction of the Arena.
Below are the images, diagrams, and narrative submitted by PROJECTiONE.
Solar Shift will act as a source for physical interaction and community gathering in the outdoor plaza of the New Evansville Arena. It is intended to architecturally define the exterior space as an extension of the progressive thinking and design of the building. The project will dynamically change in response to individuals and groups in the space through the use of motion sensors, photovoltaics, and LED lighting.
Conceptually the project looks at reactive architecture as a way to encourage interaction between individuals and the public environment. We have found in the past that projects physically reacting to users in the space tend to evoke a much stronger emotional response, and the surprise and excitement we have experienced in users has led us to further pursue this type of work in public spaces. This follows many contemporary movements towards embedding technology within our surroundings, and we see this occurring more and more in our daily lives.
We will take this concept further in Solar Shift by creating a fully self contained system that acts as a solar collector, using photovoltaic panels to charge during the day, and in turn power the reactive lighting in the evening. As the sun sets each day, the project shifts and slowly comes to life, recognizing the individuals inhabiting it and lighting up to follow their movement in space. Each component in the system will power itself and react independently, eliminating any electrical connections between panels or tapping into an existing power grid. This is both a completely sustainable approach to lighting and increases the durability of the system. The reaction will be based on users’ proximity to each individual triangular component and the number of users in the space. Although each unit is entirely independent, the effect of the reaction across the system will visually trace users throughout the plaza and unify the project.
Formally, Solar Shift derives its shape from the sun path data of Evansville, Indiana. We began by digitally 3d modeling a surface that is optimized for ideal solar radiation throughout the year from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. From there, the form was modified to accommodate access to the site, circulation paths, and visual aesthetics. We then utilized parametric design software to divide the surface into a triangular component system, where each panel relates to the original sun path data. We are now able to modify any portion of the design and the entire digital 3d model will update in real time. This practice is becoming more and more prevalent in contemporary architecture.
Our background in architectural design/fabrication and embedded technology will allow us to fully control and innovate throughout the design to fabrication process. Our focus on fabrication and experimentation will ultimately lead to a refined final outcome that will both accomplish its programmatic goals and add a level of excitement and progressive thinking to downtown Evansville. Solar Shift, paired with the New Evansville Arena, will attract users of all ages to the site and encourage conversation and interaction, becoming a new icon for the city of Evansville.