The Wind Tunnel rejects the traditional generator--a cold, high-tech, streamlined machine for harvesting power--and instead aims to gather energy in a reverential manner that both harnesses the wind and celebrates the process. Through the manipulation of the landscape and the site’s natural materials, wind is directed, magnified, and focused into two monumental generator towers that point in the directions of the site’s dominant wind flows--Northwesterly and Southerly--creating a compass in the landscape that speaks to the dominant environmental conditions of the site.
Sited in the northern zone of the emerging Freshkills Park, each Wind Tunnel takes form as a funnel in the landscape. As the landfill under the site cannot be disturbed, new fill is brought in and molded into earthen berms, which form a funnel that captures and concentrates the wind.
The flat surfaces of the funnel are constructed with reclaimed railroad ties from decomissioned railways in the New York City area. The railroad tie surface both works as a steeply inclined retaining wall for the new berms and creates a smooth surface to channel the wind. Rows of trees line the berms, creating green walls that reinforce the wind flow.
The Wind Tunnel terminates at a simple yet monumental structure, an inclined hollow concrete triangular prism. This structure cuts through the air like a blade, but is open at the bottom to collect the wind gathered and concentrated by the funnel. The concentrated wind is channeled up through the structure, culminating at the turbine.
Part energy generator and part pedestrian promenade, the Wind Tunnel welcomes both machine and man into the landscape. The sculpted intervention becomes a monument to renewable energy, inviting the public to observe a process of generating power and marvel in its earthen beauty.
Land Art Generator Initiative Competition
Land Art Generator Initiative and the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation
Collaborator: Katie MacDonald