A team led by Melbourne’s NH Architecture has won the Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) design competition for the St Kilda Triangle. The Melbourne consortium beat over 200 entries from 40 countries. A group from Seattle took second place.
The proposal, called Light Up, won both the expert jury’s award and the popular vote.
LAGI is a biennial competition that brings sustainability, public art and land form together. Previous host cities were Dubai (2010), New York (2012), Copenhagen (2014) and Santa Monica (2016).
In 2018 the State Government and the Port Phillip Council succeeded in getting the LAGI competition at the Triangle with a focus on adding art and renewable energy to the Council’s Masterplan. An important consideration was the State government’s policy promoting renewable energy.
The NH Architecture team has designed a swooping canopy for St Kilda Triangle that incorporates 8,600 ultra-efficient flexible photovoltaic panels. Energy is also harvested when wind blows across the swaying canopy, and from the roots of plants using microbial fuel cells. The project is capable of powering 900 homes, as well as local street lights and the Palais Theatre.
Light Up, is both a power plant and a work of art. It creates a light-filtered surface over Jacka Boulevard while also forging a new connection between the upper Esplanade and the St Kilda beach.
Project leader Martin Heide says their team—which includes NH Architecture, Ark Resources, John Bahoric Design, and RMIT Architecture students— focused on conceiving a design that could be built with a high return on investment. So they specified tested components that are already on the market.
The Light Up proposal allows for approximately 300 parked cars, a new cultural center, a new hotel, and an uninterrupted landscape from the Esplanade and Luna Park to the beach front. It proposes to submerge the carpark and the cultural center in the landscape, preserving important views.
LAGI co-founders Elizabeth Monoian and Robert Ferry applauded the teamʼs pragmatic design and they also celebrate its strong visual impact. “The form of a draping tapestry creates a timeless and instantly recognizable image for St Kilda that compliments existing landmarks without competing with them. With such a large component of the artwork spanning Jacka Boulevard, Light Up manages to create one large functional park space that flows from the Palais forecourt to the beach. The experience of traversing the park will be like walking through a flowing stream of solar energy.”