The recent hurricane that slammed into New York City dramatically increased interest in storm-tracking, making The Weather Channel temporarily more popular than any national news station. The natural human curiosity about weather and other changing climatic conditions is addressed in "Scene Sensor," a project proposed by artists James Murray and Shota Vashakmadze for Freshkills Park, New York. The winning entry to the Land Art Generator Initiative design competition, Scene Sensor is a simple open-air pavilion that harnesses wind power via a piezoelectric wire mesh that converts moving air into energy. This mesh also incorporates lighting to depict wind maps at night, and will act as a billboard that visualizes invisible natural forces.
According to Murray and Vashakmadze's design brief, “The energy collected through these intersecting processes would be enough to power 1,200 households.” Although it is doubtful that Scene Sensor would have remained unscathed in the wake of Hurricane Sandy's wrath, the timing of the proposal could not be better. In the aftermath of the storm, New Yorkers' interest in changing weather patterns will likely fuel the desire to construct this habitable weathervane, although perhaps now with a more robust structure.
Blaine Brownell is a regularly featured columnist whose stories appear on this website each week. His views and conclusions are not necessarily those of ARCHITECT magazine nor of the American Institute of Architects.