”Without the fog, London wouldn’t be a beautiful city”
-Claude Monet writing to his wife, Alice, during one of his long
visits to England.
Olympic & Expo structures – with their mute mass, their
ponderous monumentality, and their conspicuous expenditure
on immovable objects – are outmoded. Our proposal is as light
as air itself – a tribute to a digital age of bits and atoms beyond
the antiquity of steel and glass – a structure which reveals
the connected networks of a common humanity fuelling the
Olympics, their 2012 host city, and the
world itself. The Cloud proposes
a new form of monument –
a new form of collective
expression and experience,
and an updated symbol
of our dawning age. It
proposes an entirely new
form of observation deck,
high above the Olympics
– one from which one can
not only see the whole of
London, but the whole of the
world, immersed in the euphoric
gusts of weather and world data. It offers London’s highest
park and an immersion within both our great clouded skies and
the cosmos of our dataworlds – as well as a live information
system transmitting data and imagery from around the city
and the world. It presents the perfect Olympic symbol – a
million unbounded particles contributing briefly towards a
vast, beautiful, constantly-fluctuating whole. London, with its
diversity, internationalism and tolerance, unites countries;
the Cloud unites all people.
Inflatables. Each inflatable has its own air pump that controls air pressure level.
All pumps are networked, thus forming a distributed, self-regulating system.
Each pump will generate energy by letting air in and out during the daily heating
and cooling cycles due to solar radiation. Inflatables on the periphery of the cloud
are insulated with nanogel and kept hotter through internal resistors - so that they
can float freely in air.
Sun. The remaining energy for the Cloud will be produced by thin film photovoltaics
printed on inflatable membranes, doubling as solar shading in the summer in order
to preserve maximum internal thermal comfort inside. It is expected that this will
collect 200 MWh per year, making the Cloud not only zero emission but effectively
‘below-zero emission’ (the Cloud will be a net producer of energy to the East London
Wind. Wind will play with the cloud and the freely floating inflatables at its periphery.
The tower shaft will utilize heat generated and wind pressure differential to develop
airflow - like Jörg Schlaich’s solar tower turbines in Spain and Australia. The wind will
naturally ventilate the inhabited spaces inside the Cloud during the summer, while
they’ll be sealed to maintain internal heat generated by the occupants and
the sun during the winter.
Water. Water is used to generate energy through a series of micro turbines,
placed in both the rainwater and black water risers. Rainwater is collected
locally - mid-air - by the lattice of cloud spheres, saving on energy
requirements for pumping water up from ground level, and serving as
a battery for thermal energy storage. Waste water flushed and rainwater
drained from the cloud will generate energy as they flow down the risers).