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The Clear Orb is one of the shortlisted projects for 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative

Designed by Heerim Architects & Planners, The Clear Orb would produce just under 600 million gallons of clean water annually.

October 04, 2016 |

Image courtesy of Heerim Architects & Planners

The Land Art Generator Initiative is a site-specific design competition held every two years with the purpose of accelerating “the transition to post-carbon economies by providing models of renewable energy infrastructure that add value to public space,” according to the Initiative’s website.

This year’s site is Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, Calif. and proposals will be addressing the energy-water nexus. This means, for the 2016 competition, the definition of sustainable infrastructure artwork was expanded to include proposals that produce drinking water. The drinking water can be produced in place of clean energy, or in addition to it.

One of the more striking proposals this year, and one that has been shortlisted, is The Clear Orb designed by South Korea-based Heerim Architects & Planners. As reports, the 130-ft diameter glass orb uses transparent luminescent solar concentrators to supply the energy needed to circulate the surrounding seawater in and out of the structure. Once the seawater has been brought inside the Orb, a solar still converts it into fresh water. The produced fresh water then cascades down a step fountain that supports the overall structure of the Orb. The solar still would be capable of producing nearly 600,000 gallons of water and 3,820 MWh annually.

The Orb would sit adjacent to the Santa Monica Pier and would be accessible via a pathway that branches off from the pier and slants down gently below the surface of the water. The outer walls of the path would harvest energy from the waves while the inner walls would feature a list of animals that have gone extinct.

Another shortlisted proposal, dubbed The Pipe, lacks a bit of the aesthetic value of The Clear Orb, but has the ability to produce a whopping 1.5 billion gallons of drinkable water annually via electromagnetic desalination. In addition to producing pure drinking water, water with 12% salinity is also produced. The drinking water gets piped to shore for use and the salt water supplies the on-board thermal baths before making its way back into the ocean.

The winner of the LAGI 2016 competition will be announced Oct. 6 at Greenbuild 2016 in Los Angeles.


Image courtesy of Heerim Architects & Planners


Image courtesy of Heerim Architects & Planners


The Pipe. Image courtesy of Khalili Engineers

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