The LAGI (Land Art Generator Initiative) design competition has recently awarded Rio Iluminado as the winning project. An arch covered in a 900 square foot solar array, this public art piece will be built on the waterfront of downtown Willimantic, Connecticut. The Rio Iluminado team includes Pirie Associates Architects, architect Lindsay Suter, and sculptor Gar Waterman. The artwork was designed to generate 25.5 MWh of clean energy annually for a 3.4-acre site owned by the Willimantic Whitewater Partnership (WWP).
WWP has recently remediated a prominent site in the heart of Willimantic and prepared it for development. Soon it will be home to a new whitewater park and other public amenities that WWP envisions will be powered with on-site renewable energy. The team's arch design will function as the center piece for this upcoming park.
This structure was created to reinforce the community’s connection to the river, as well as marking the passage of the seasons and the movement of river-related species. For Phase II of the project the winning team will undertake a detailed design stage to develop Rio Iluminado for production. Phase III will see the fabrication, instruction and production of the artwork, which is expected to cost between $250,000 and $500,000.
Runner up projects included Eddy Line, by Höweler + Yoon Architecture and Gray Organschi, and Solar Boombox by Claudia Dinep and Kristin Schwab.
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