Blow Wall /URBAN WIND-VIBRO-POWER SCREEN
The Blow Wall aims at designing a self supporting structure that would serve as an urban windscreen, or windbreak for public plazas. It is designed in response to a widespread urban condition of open public spaces surrounded by tall buildings producing a wind tunnel effect and thus preformatively subverting their intention to become the gathering spaces. The windbreak concept is widely used primarily in agriculture, protecting fields from the effects of high winds. These windbreaks are more efficient as partially and gradually porous surfaces (of green mass or constructed materials). The Blow Wall intends to take advantage of this porosity for both performative, aesthetic and potentially programmatic purposes. It is designed to decrease the wind tunnel effect and create a semi-enclosed microclimate and harvest the energy through the use of vibrating objects embedded within the series structural components. This generates energy that can be stored and reused for multiple different purposes and adds particular architectural expression to the public space, enabling the system to be self-sufficient. Harvesting of the vibro-wind power is based on the current research at Cornell conducted by Francis Moon with hypothesis that flow of wind through the built environment induces movement in components of certain small shape and size and that this kinetic energy can be turned into power.
The parameterization of the system intends to explore iterative adaptation of the urban windbreak to different conditions, responding to the changing direction and speed of wind. The vibro-elements are placed to both harvest energy and speculate on aesthetic, programmatic and performative effects of climate modification devices within urban space.
The final iteration considered a series of parameters including:
1) Structural stability: bigger pieces for the bases getting smaller as the wall grows
2) Porosity: a range in the size of the apertures growing from more open to less open from bottom to top allowing for the smaller pieces above
3) A certain degree of porosity at average height level to allow for visibility as well as more wind to pass through, and to allow for the attachment of the blunt objects to perform as wind powered vibrating units
Project Contributors (alphabetically): Jessica Bello, Jeremy Burke, Dana Cupkova, Michael Lee, Andy Linn, Michael Lee, Francis Moon and Kevin Pratt