Windswept is a wind-driven kinetic facade installed on the exterior of the Randall Museum in San Francisco. Designed by Charles Sowers over the course of a year, the installation seeks to reveal the movement of wind as it interacts with the side of the building. Sowers is interested in creating instrumentation that allows insight into normally invisible or unnoticed phenomena and Windswept is one example of how to make the wind visible, or at least its direction. Each of the 612 freely-rotating directional arrows serve as discreet data points indicating the direction of local flow within the larger phenomenon.
Sowers spent a year and a half designing and testing wind arrow designs. He first built a 4′ x 4′ prototype panel fitted with 6 different arrow designs and mounted it on-site for a year of testing. He also mounted a few arrows on the outside of an apartment window at Baker Beach in San Francisco’s Presidio where they were subjected to a year of intense wind and salty air. After determining the best arrow design, they installed the arrows on the 40s era board-formed concrete building. Each anodized aluminum arrow is mounted onto a specially designed bracket off the wall so that wind can interact behind it. Watching the video shows how the installation acts when subjected to wind and the movement of the arrows wind ripples, swirls and gusts against the building is truly mesmerizing. Windswept was commissioned by the San Francisco Arts Commission for permanent installation at the Randall Museum.
Images ©Bruce Damonte courtesy of Arts.Commission and Charles Sowers