Project Description

The main goal of the Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) is to design and construct public art installations that have the added benefit of utility-scale clean energy generation. Each sculpture will continuously distribute clean energy into the electrical grid, with each having the potential to provide power to thousands of homes.

Presenting the power plant as public artwork— simultaneously enhancing the environment, increasing livability, providing a venue for learning, and stimulating local economic development—is a way to address a variety of issues from the perspective of the ecologically concerned artist and designer. By nature of its functional utility, the work also sets itself into many other overlapping disciplines from architecture and urban design to mechanical engineering and environmental science. This interdisciplinary result has the effect of both enhancing the level of innovation and broadening the audience for the work.

In January of 2010 LAGI put out our first international call to artists, architects, scientists, landscape architects, and engineers to come up with both aesthetic and pragmatic solutions for 21st century energy challenges.

The design brief for the LAGI design competition contains the following baseline requirements—the artwork is to capture energy from nature, cleanly convert it into electricity, and transform and transmit the electrical power to a grid connection point to be supplied by the city. Consideration should be made for the safety of the viewing public and for the educational activities that may occur on site. The design should be constructible (rather than theoretical), and it must respect the natural ecosystem of the design sites.

The 2010 LAGI design competition was held for three sites in the UAE and we received hundreds of submissions from over 40 countries.

In partnership with New York City's Department of Parks & Recreation we held the 2012 LAGI design competition for a site within Freshkills Park (the former Fresh Kills Landfill). We received 250 submissions from around the world.

Regenerative Infrastructures features many of the top submissions to the Land Art Generator Initiative 2012 competition, which aims to create sustainable design solutions that integrate art and technology into renewable energy infrastructure around the world. The book draws a much-needed connection between the two critical issues of sustainable development—energy generation and waste management— highlighting solutions that address both problems at once, thereby creating economically beneficial hybrid utility installations.

For more information on the LAGI 2012 design competition for Freshkills Park in NYC please visit the competition section of this site.

The Land Art Generator Initiative and Refshaleøen Holding held the LAGI 2014 ideas competition in Copenhagen in partnership with IT University of Copenhagen, the Danish Design Centre, Green Cities, Sharing Copenhagen, Information Studies at Aarhus University, and Alexandra Institute.

We received 300 submissions from 55 countries.

Submissions to previous competitions can be found in our online portfolio.

Education and outreach are a primary focus of LAGI.

We have written a "Field Guide to Renewable Energy Technologies," which can be downloaded for free.

We've created a dual language (English/Danish) Art+Energy Flash Card kit.
The Cards are designed to strengthen the pragmatic problem solving skills needed to address solutions for 21st century energy challenges by offering an engaging tool for science education. They highlight real world applications of STEAM objectives and teach about the importance of sustainability in design.

You can download the pdf version here.

We have also designed an "energy literacy" project that intersects art, science, and sustainable technologies with the objective of educating people about the concepts of aesthetic clean energy generation. This includes a six step process:

Understanding Art Outside of the Gallery
Understanding the Science of Energy
Understanding Sustainable Technologies
  4) Conceptual Framework
  5) Design Your Own Renewable Energy Artwork
  6) Upload Your Design to the LAGI Website

The strategic objective of the Land Art Generator Initiative is to advance the successful implementation of sustainable design solutions by integrating art and interdisciplinary creative processes into the conception of renewable energy infrastructure.

The project can be subdivided into five main areas of focus:

To learn more about how you can bring LAGI to your city please follow this link or click on the below image to go straight to the LAGI Benefits to Cities PDF Document.

LAGI Benefits to Cities

Theoretical Background

Art has the proven ability to create movements and stimulate creative dialogue. The artist community has long taken a critical approach to the problems of energy use and production, which has helped to open the public eye to the severity of the problems facing us. The time is now for artists to go further and take an active role in solving the problem through their own work: "solution-based art practice".

As we move towards our renewable energy future we should recognize the inherent differences that exist between the old and the new means of energy production and the change to built manifestations that consequently follow from this shift. When power generation facilities were adapted for the urban environment in previous eras, they necessarily responded to the aesthetic considerations of the time required of them to integrate with the fabric of the community. As the days of the gas or coal fired power plant at the farthest outskirts of the city come to a close, we will find more and more integration of energy production within the fabric of our commercial and residential communities. The need for large-scale exurban generation will always be there, but it will be augmented more and more by urban and rural micro-generation and mid-scale generation.

We live in a world that cross-culturally puts a high emphasis on design. As energy generation necessarily comes in closer proximity with the real estate that it powers, issues of aesthetics that drive acceptance are becoming more and more debated. A holistic approach to a renewable energy infrastructure has a place for both macro and micro-generation.

Macro installations in the landscape should also take care in their design to integrate with their surroundings both visually and environmentally. Micro installations should take care in their designs to integrate with the fabric of the urban community. Just as buildings and public art and land art exist as interventions in the fabric of the environment, so must power generation constructions—from our green fields to our suburbs to our downtowns—react responsibly to their role as permanent additions to our shared experience.

We have, on the one hand, an ever increasing drive toward designing buildings and cities to run on 100% renewable energy. The design community and city planners are moving in this direction driven by the collective will of society. On the other hand, we have technologies proliferating that are still rather utilitarian in their form such as the standard horizontal axis, three blade wind turbine. And these utilitarian forms are seeing some pushback from individual communities, especially as they come closer and closer to the city. The first warning signs of this are seen in rural mountaintop residential communities and coastal communities but this debate will only get more and more heated as the devices integrate into more dense urban environments.

What is needed in order to bridge the gap—between the larger desire for a renewable future and the community level negative reactions to the application of the systems required for it—is an artistic movement that can set a course towards aesthetic considerations in sustainable infrastructure.

Because, after all, sustainability in communities is not only about resources, it is also about harmony.



Public Art of the Sustainable City (2010)
Robert Ferry & Elizabeth Monoian
LAGI Founding Co-Directors

Regenerative Infrastructures (2012)
Robert Ferry & Elizabeth Monoian
LAGI Founding Co-Directors