Inspired by Electricity
Tuesday July 12th 2011, 4:15 pm
Filed under: Natural Inspiration,Photography

Perhaps inspired by the most recent holiday and the fireworks show I witnessed down on Lake Union, as seen in the above photo I took from the new South Lake Union Park, I have been looking at a lot of imagery related to displays of light and the actions of electricity. However, it’s not the overall display that has caught my attention but rather the details.

Some of the most intriguing imagery is that of Hiroshi Sugimoto in his project titled Lighting Fields. The artists description of this project:

The word electricity is thought to derive from the ancient Greek elektron, meaning “amber.” When subject to friction, materials such as amber and fur produce an effect that we now know as static electricity. Related phenomena were studied in the eighteenth century, most notably by Benjamin Franklin. To test his theory that lightning is electricity, in 1752 Franklin flew a kite in a thunderstorm. He conducted the experiment at great danger to himself; in fact, other researchers were electrocuted while conducting similar experiments. He not only proved his hypothesis, but also that electricity has positive and negative charges.

In 1831, Michael Faraday’s formulation of the law of electromagnetic induction led to the invention of electric generators and transformers, which dramatically changed the quality of human life. Far less well-known is that Faraday’s colleague, William Fox Talbot, was the father of calotype photography. Fox Talbot’s momentous discovery of the photosensitive properties of silver alloys led to the development of positive-negative photographic imaging. The idea of observing the effects of electrical discharges on photographic dry plates reflects my desire to re-create the major discoveries of these scientific pioneers in the darkroom and verify them with my own eyes.

The images take on an interesting quality that exhibit the characteristsics of such things as water, land and vegetation – painted with brushes of light. The intricacies are amazing with softer areas that look like hair or grassy hills with bright points of light sprouting into trees. Simply stunning.

images via Hiroshi Sugimoto

Singapore’s Marina South Gardens and the SuperTrees
Thursday July 07th 2011, 1:41 am
Filed under: Competition,Energy,Living Wall,Public,Water

Following an international design competition for Singapore’s Marina South Gardens back in 2006, a team lead by UK-based Grant Associates was selected to design the masterplan. And now, with the massive construction of Singapore’s largest garden project is well underway.

Below are the conceptual sketch and the illustrative masterplan from the original competition followed by an illustrative section in the area of the SuperTrees. Some text from Grant Associates explains,

The masterplan takes its inspiration from the form of the orchid, and has an intelligent infrastructure that allows the cultivation of plants that would not otherwise grow in Singapore. The centrepiece of this infrastructure is the cluster of Cooled Conservatories along the edge of Marina Bay.

The dual theme of Marina South is ‘Plants and People’ and ‘Plants and Planet’. Each narrative encompasses the length of the gardens, with the Conservatories providing the focus and main educational message.

The Cool Dry and the Cool Moist Conservatories showcase Mediterranean, tropical montane and temperate annual plants and flowering species. They also provide a flexible, flower-themed venue for events and exhibitions.

The Supertrees…are an iconic landmark for the Gardens and Singapore. They are also the environmental engines for the Conservatories and Energy Centre, containing solar hot water and photovoltaic collectors, rainwater harvesting devices and venting ducts.

The photograph above, which was shot just recently on June 29th, shows the massive tree-like structures called the “SuperTrees” in the midst of construction. Although these concrete structures aren’t trees so much as they are massive vertical gardens built as large sculptural elements that will house hundreds of species and varieties of plants. There will be a total of 18 of these vertical super structures with heights ranging from 82 to 164 feet when construction is complete.

The scale of the concrete “trees” next to the human figures is what makes this image truly amazing and quite surreal. It’s hard to believe that this is an actual construction shot and not just another crazy illustrative rendering.

Besides providing the people with a massive botanical park and vegetated shade in the dense urban setting during the day, the grove is supposed to “come alive with lighting and projected media” for a nighttime display.

images via Grant Associates , Vesper Hsieh, National Geographic, Plataforma Arquitectura

Green Phone Booth
Friday July 01st 2011, 5:35 pm
Filed under: Green Roof

photo via Lisa Town

Even the phone booth in the Hoh Rainforest on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State is dripping with green.