Last year Melbourne’s iconic Southern Star Observation Wheel found a sad turn when it had to be shut down due to cracks and buckling caused by the intense summer heat. The $100 million wheel has since been decommissioned, but that hasn’t stopped designers from thinking about what to do next with the landmark. So why reinvent the wheel you ask? Because it could be transformed into an energy-generating windmill outfitted with solar sails!

Buro North, Peter Bennetts, Squint Opera, Futuristic wheel, Southern Star Observation Wheel, Flying trams, adaptive re-use, solar-sail power, solar power, wind power, green energy, melbourne

Buro North, together with photographer Peter Bennetts and Fooch from Squint Opera, came up with a mind-bending way to re-adapt the wheel. They’ve transformed the simple observation deck into a futuristic windmill powered by solar-sail energy, complete with numerous, well-landscaped hubs for a new fleet of flying steam-powered trams. The base also features quite the garden, bringing nature back to the people with free roaming super flamingoes convening near street performers.

While this fantastical endeavor probably won’t be feasible anytime soon – we imagine flying trams are still some years away – the concept itself brings up key issues such as how to efficiently adapt, and re-function outdated infrastructure.

+ Buro North