The SOL Dome

The SOL Dome

Location
Saginaw, United States | View Map
Project Year
2013
Category
Exhibitions

The SOL Dome

Loop.pH as Manufacturers

The SOL Dome is a lightweight dome structure, 8 metre in diameter, 4 metre high and weighing only 40 kilograms. It was fabricated onsite over three days from thousands of individually woven circles of composite fibre. The structure is animated and part of a responsive lighting system, lit by a circular matrix of solar powered LED floodlights. The rotational breathing rhythm of the light is driven by an onsite CO2 sensor and is part of the studio’s ongoing research into creating environments that allow people to experience cycles of environmental data in public space.


Technological Innovation


Electrical Equipment


• Super bright Tricolor LED units (RGB colour change)


• Photovoltaic array (Mono-Crystalline Cells: Sunpower Maxeon with 22.5% efficiency)


• Bespoke software, DMX Control


• CO2 Environmental sensor (Scientific research grade)


Structural Equipment


• Light reflective, glassfibre reinforced rods with brass ferrules


• Structural reinforcement carbon fibre rods


• Circular aluminium frame that houses all electronics & wiring (LED, PV, batteries, controllers)


Technical Description of the SOL Dome:


• A circular array of 10 RGB tricolor LED units sit at the base of the structure (total 550W)


• The LED units up-light and animate the light reflective fibreglass rods of the dome


• 12.5 m2 of PV modules sit in alongside the LED untis and charge 5 car batteries that provide power for the whole installation.


• A wireless CO2 Sensor (K-30 10,000ppm) is mounted on a nearby lamppost and transmits live CO2 data to the computer and DMX control. A 24h CO2 data cycle is used to create a unique animation for each day.


Uniqueness


• The SOL Dome uses a technique called Archilace, which is a pioneering and unique method to craft space developed by Loop.pH over the past 10 years. It can simply be described as lace making on an architectural scale.


• Archilace combines a cutting edge parametric design process with a hands-on crafting technique. The SOL Dome was fabricated onsite over three days from thousands of individually woven circles of composite fibre.


• The underlying geometry of the dome is based on chemical, molecular bonds between carbon atoms. The taut structure of the SOL Dome embodies a kinetic energy whereby each fibre bent into a circle is like charging a battery.


• Recently discovered structures that were previously unbuildable can be fabricated by hand using a textile, curvilinear approach.


Sustainable Innovation


• Super Lightweight: The dome is 8m diameter, 4m high and weighs only 100kg


• Modular and Reconfigurable: Made from a small number of modular parts that can be assembled in infinitely different ways.


• Repairable and Reusable: The composite fibres are temporarily fixed, meaning the structure can quickly and easily be taken down and rebuilt elsewhere.


• Minimal Transportation & Construction: No large shipping container as the dome is fabricated by hand on site. All parts fit into a small flight case. No heavy machinery is needed to build on an architectural scale.


• Renewable Energy: All electronics and lighting are powered by an array of photovoltaics.


• Smart use of Electricity: The lighting scheme is controlled through a light sensor and is only on during dusk and the hours of darkness. Use of low power energy efficient LEDs


Social Inovation


!•Public Engagement: The lighting provides ambient information about its environment and engages the public in debate regarding fluctuating CO2 levels


• Local Participation: The SOL Dome is fabricated on site by local volunteers. They learn a new fabrication technique and have the opportunity to strengthen their community through ‘making’.


SOL Dome & the Built Environment


The SOL Dome and similar structures have applications as:


• Temporary shelters for events and festivals.


• Solar powered lighting for public space


• Architectural media facade and external cladding with integrated lighting and photovoltaic membrane


• Our vision for this type of structure is to become a flexible and affordable space-frame for citizen science projects in urban space.


Future Developments & Collaborations • Loop.pH are working with Nacho Zamora, founder and manager of Solar Artworks in the UAE to develop large scale solar powered lighting for public space using the SOL Dome technique and technology.


• Loop.pH have a long standing research collaboration with Frederik C Krebs of DTU Energy Conversion in Denmark in order to develop smart skins that are applied to the architectural structure. These smart skins use low-cost polymer printed electronics to create photovoltaic and light emitting membranes. http://www.ecs.dtu.dk/english/Research/ Polymer-Solar-Cells


• Loop.pH also have a research trajectory together with Daniel Piker, the software engineer and architect who developed the physics modelling engine, Kangaroo. http://spacesymmetrystructure.wordpress.com. The studio is developing an online web platform whereby people can design their own structures in a simple 3D environment like SketchUp and then order the kit from Loop.pH.


4-Nov-2013


Fall In...Art and Sol is a celebration of art, culture and science throughout Michigan's Great Lakes Bay Region featuring the world's first major solar art exhibition with International artists in October 2013.


The SOL Dome is a lightweight dome structure, 8 metre in diameter, 4 metre high and weighing only 40 kg. Its fabricated onsite over 3 days from thousands of individually woven circles of composite fibre. The structure is animated and part of a responsive lighting system, lit by a circular matrix of solar powered LED floodlights. The rotational breathing rhythm of the light is driven by an onsite CO2 sensor and is part of our studios ongoing research into creating environments that allow people to experience cycles of environmental data in public space. The underlying geometry and construction technique of the dome is based on chemical, molecular bonds between carbon atoms. When each fibre is bent into a circle it is like charging a battery, creating a taut energetic structure.


Our work at Loop.pH speculates on what the future of renewable energy could be and how it may alter both the urban and rural landscapes. We create environments that question what new behaviours, work forces and activity might emerge in an abundant renewable energy future.


Ultimately, we have a vision for an entirely new type of architecture that responds and adapts to its environment, similarly to a plant and its surrounding ecosystem. We dream of a living architecture that photosynthesises, moves and orientates in accordance to the sun. It is an architecture whereby the inhabitants can actively participate in its shape, form and function.


Geometry & Technique: The underlying geometry and construction technique is based on chemical, molecular bonds between carbon atoms. The taut structure of the SOL Dome embodies a kinetic energy whereby each fibre bent into a circle is like charging a battery. Large scale solar energy supply will only be possible if we can find an inexpensive storage mechanism. Transferring solar energy into chemical energy (chemical bonds) is one of the most promising approaches. The dome structure is an example of this type of stored energy. Archilace: Archilace is a pioneering and unique method to craft space and has been developed by Loop.pH over the past 10 years. It can simply be described as lace-making on an architectural scale and will be the principle technique behind the SOL Dome.


Archilace encourages designers, architects and citizens to intervene and re-construct the built environment, promoting the idea that architecture is a process and in a state of constant transformation. Archilace combines a cutting edge parametric design process with a hands-on crafting technique. Weaving with composite fibres allows for virtually any imaginable surface to be created from a small number of parts. Where many individual fibres are weak when singular, great strength is created in unison as they interlink and cross one another. Recently discovered structures that were previously unbuildable can be fabricated by hand using a textile, curvilinear approach - breaking the rectilinear geometry that dominates our built environment.

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