There is a role that is becoming very important in contemporary cities: that of a transportation-meeting-informal urban life hub placed very close to representative public spaces of the city. A place that is vibrant of everyday life activities, that is astonishingly illuminated, that not only gives service but celebrates the diverse situations that are going to take place in it. Having a packed lunch, waiting for friends, meeting to go somewhere else or waiting for a bus or a taxi are marvellous activities that hundreds or thousands of people are engaged in these active public spaces.
But also, new things could be added to enrich the time spent there: why not giving the opportunity for informal events to take place? Why not giving the tools to quickly organize a concert, a theatrical representation, a speech, a puppets show? The problem of vandalism in public services shouldn’t be a reason to impoverish
the use of public space; it is possible to solve through design the inherent problems of, for example, giving the opportunity to a local band to “plug in “ their instruments to a sound system that is permanently placed in the square.
The potential to inform thousands of people about environmental issues is an opportunity that should not be neglected. Through the creation of a device that converts wind energy into electric energy to lighten the square people will be able to establish the relationship between the strength of the wind and the intensity of the light that is locally produced. Also, this device would be the first major application in the world of a new system of capturing the energy of the wind called Windbelt.
Finally, the lighting system is colour coordinated with a garden of hanging pots of Marguerite Daisies (Argyranthemum frutescens).
2. A sustainable square. Wind-light device.
The prerequisite of using a maximum of 3.000 kW of energy has been observed as a sustainable guiding principle of design in squares. This amount of energy guarantees a very modest operation of the square in terms of lighting and other parts of the program that would require power supply.
This limitation is overcome through a device that converts wind energy into electricity that is used to illuminate the square.
The lighting of the Enlightened Square is divided in two Systems:
- 1.Wind responsive lighting device.
- 2.Basic Lighting to achieve a minimum general lighting condition.
1. Wind responsive lighting device.
This device consists of a series of frames that support Windbelt panels. Each panel is connected to four 25W linear fluorescent lights above the square. There will be regions of the square that will be more illuminated than others depending on the position of the windbelt panel and the power of the wind at a precise moment. The variable intensity of the wind will be visible through the intensity of the light that is emitted in the square, signalling the areas that are more stricken by the wind.
The low energy fluorescent lights are suspended from the steel cable network and are protected with an anti vandalism case. The colour of the light of each fluorescent lamp will vary according to its relative position to the system of Marguerite Daisies that are positioned, also according to their colour in the square, creating an abstract relationship between light, colour and smell.
-The Windbelt technology:
The dissipation of wind energy into electricity eliminates the negative impact of wind currents in the functionality of the square. On the other hand, thanks to this conversion of energy, the wind will be still visible through light.
The Windbelt™ technology is based in a tensioned membrane (fig.1) undergoing a flutter oscillation to pull energy from the wind. This relies on an aerodynamic phenomenon known as aeroelastic flutter (fig 2.). Each panel has a series of membranes that oscillate with the power of the wind and transform the energy of the wind into electric current.(Fig.3)
Each panel has an electrical conductor and a magnetic field generator which is attached to the membrane and configured to move with the membrane (Fig.4). The vibration of the membrane caused by the fluid flow causes a relative movement between the electrical conductor and the applied magnetic field (Fig.5). The relative movement causes a change in the strength of the magnetic field applied to the electrical conductor, and the change in the strength of the magnetic field applied to the electrical conductor induces a current flowing in the conductor.
Each panel would be composed of several units with a membrane each and then connected with four 25 w coloured fluorescent lamps.
The energy produced from the Windebelt panels can be stored in batteries, specially that which is produced during the day. The stored energy can be used to provide power to projectors, screens or any other outputs such as sound systems or any other installation that is necessary for the realization of public activities at the Enlightened Square.
- 3. Urban life.
A form of exuberant urban life requires flexibility in the possibilities that the architecture has to offer and robustness in terms of durability, absence of maintenance and resilience of the systems and materials used.
The possibilities of use are suggested as follows, although a further stage of development of these ideas will clarify the viability and properness of the possibilities.
These are suitable in principle:
Performance Informal theatre
Photobooth Projection of image-sound
Fast food eating Candle light fast food dinner
Quick lunch Jukebox
Ping pong Soft playground
Storytelling Projection screen
Publicity Speakers corner Confy lounge
The square is partially covered with a network of steel cables that support the light device, a hanging garden of Marguerite Daisies, three big tables that condensate the activities of the square and other services and/or equipment that will be needed.
They are placed 4 m above the ground
We propose three big tables that will serve as a tool to organize the informal meeting of people to do different activities. They are hanged from the main network of cables and anchored to the ground. They are resistant enough to hold the weight of people walking on them so they can vary their typology from table to plinth to floor to scenario.
The tables are clad with kerto timber strips that provide long term durability in exterior conditions, easy maintenance and robustness.
The tables provide the capacity of image and sound projection among other facilities.
-The hanging garden of Marguerite Daisies (Argyranthemum frutescens)
Marguerite Daisies are fragrant and lovely, and hanged in baskets from the cable network would create a field that would blossom during summer, providing shade, smell and a fresh atmosphere.
Argyranthemum frutescens are a perennial plant of varied colours. A gradation of yellows and oranges has been picked that will match a colour gradation of the light emitted from the lighting device.
The system for irrigation would be supported by the system of cables.