Joe Hines Makes Stuff
Designer + Maker







The Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI), provides a platform for artists, architects, landscape architects, and other creatives working with engineers and scientists to bring forward human-centered solutions for sustainable energy infrastructures that enhance the city as works of public art while cleanly powering thousands of homes.


PROJECT DETAILS_This project, a submission to the 2013 Land Art Generator Initiative, looked to transform the Freshkills park of Staten Island through the implementation of a large scale installation. Built upon the former Freshkills landfill the proposed installation looked to utilize the existing methane reserves that exist buried beneath the surface of the park through a means distributed energy production. Offering a scalable system that not only converts methane, but also cleans and converts the by product hot exhaust directly into energy at a local level. By engaging the community through interactive learning centers housed within several of the dynamic units the project took on a larger responsibility of confronting inhabitants with the ecological problems of the current day.

TEAM_ORE Design + Technology

METHODS_Rhinoceros, Grasshopper, Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign

ACCOLADES_Land Art Genertor Initiative Shortlisted Entry + Published in Regenerative Infrastructures [Prestel]


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This project offers a scalable system that not only converts methane, but also cleans and converts the by product hot exhaust directly into energy at a local level.  Creating energy directly at each well will reduce the required amount of infrastructure to ecologically convert methane to energy.  Rather than building or maintaining a large network of gas infrastructure to a single distant electrical plant, the project proposed installing micro-turbines at each passive well head, to continuously convert methane into electricity.  The hot off-gassing of each micro-turbine flows into high temperature/pressure ETFE balloons.  The geometry of Fresh Clouds was created with a Weaire-Phelan packing script to mimic the structure of methane gas molecules under high pressure.  The resultant shape provides optimal structural strength and minimum surface area for the hot gasses produced by the micro-turbines.   The exterior layers of the Smart Clouds are composed of high strength ETFE. The interior, receiving high temperatures directly from the micro-turbines, is composed ETFE coated with titanium dioxide and PTFE, which absorbs the CO2 from the exhaust.  

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Of the 120 Fresh Clouds on Freshkills site 3/4, dispersed along the existing pathway are 7 larger Clouds that function as floating Ecological Learning Centers.  These also rise and fall due to the burning of methane but at a slower rate, pausing for 5 minutes of visitor loading/unloading at the ground level, and 15 minutes of interactive exhibits.   Each of the learning has its own unique, but related ecological theme (Freshkills Renewal Project Interpretation; Local vs Global Consumption; Climate Change; Local vs Global Water Pollution; New Technologies; Local vs Global Air Pollution; and The Earth’s Future). During the ascent the visitor is engaged with interactive projections on the translucent and transparent skins of the Fresh Clouds. The ecological theme of each center is juxtaposed with the present day revitalization of Fresh Kills and the metropolis of the New York Metropolitan area beyond. 


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Like the smart grid, the smart cloud system not only supplies energy but also monitors energy usage in the NY metro area which is reflected in the color of LEDs, projecting an ambient glow in each cloud. The more energy used the brighter red, the field of occulting clouds will glow at night providing real time feedback visible to all in a 25 mile radius. As the metro NY area evolves into a more efficient ecological center in the years to come, the clouds will glow white.