Artist Felix Cheong designed Oscillating Platforms, a proposal for an off-grid floating art installation submitted to the 2014 Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) design competition. Outfitted with colorful and eye-catching sails, each freeform platform creates opportunities for artists to showcase their talents while harvesting tidal and wind energy to generate electricity. By harnessing renewable energy, the Oscillating Platforms can teach the public about sustainable energy and has the potential to offset the energy use of approximately 1,539 Copenhagen residents per year.
Founded in 2010 by architect Robert Ferry and artist Elizabeth Monoian, the biannual LAGI design competition invites students and professionals to submit constructible designs for public land art that also generate clean renewable energy. Cheong’s Oscillating Platforms proposal excavates a section of the post-industrial Refshaleøen Island to create a flooded area for the floating viewing platforms. Designed like inverse ship hauls, these anchored platforms catch the prevailing west winds in their sails and offer open views out to the water.
The Oscillating Platforms use a modified version of an oscillating water column to harness and convert tidal energy into a renewable electricity source. The water column consists of a partially submerged pressurized air chamber. Changing water levels within the chamber push air in and out, which turns the turbine blades to generate electricity that is then transferred via power lines to storage units or to the city’s power grid. The kinetic energy of the waves is intensified by the wind forces harnessed by the attached sails as well as the activity and weight of the persons on the platform.
To strengthen the project’s commitment to sustainable design, the platforms will be constructed from locally sourced lumber and the masts will be made from low-cost and environmentally friendly recycled carbon fiber composite. Oscillating Platform’s total energy output is estimated at 34,472,352-kilowatt hours annually. “Oscillating Platforms would be a great addition to the waterfront of any city,” says Ferry and Monoian. “As a high-profile public artwork, it would have a great economic stimulus benefit for the area, and would be a place where visitors and residents can learn about sustainable infrastructures while actually taking part in renewable energy generation.”
Images via Land Art Generator Initiative, © Felix Cheong