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The Cloud / broadcasting the climate of humanity Tomas Saraceno - Artworks

“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
2500 B.C. / 1890 A.D. / 2012 A.D. /
form of observation deck, Pyramids Steel Era The Cloud / Lifting Humanity
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; 1851 A.D. / 2008 A.D. / 2012 A.D. /
the Cloud unites all people. Crystal Palace Beijing Olympic Stadium The Cloud / Lifting Humanity
Site Plan
Cloud Ecology
People. People are the Cloud - its principal particulate. Seen from afar,
their silhouettes animate its transparency. They help its construction
through a global, innovative fundraising process (or ‘cloudraising’).
Their gravitational potential energy, accumulated while they rise up to
the Cloud, is then collected and transformed into electric energy by three
regenerative lifts. This will amount to an estimated total of 20 MWh over
the course of the year, covering a substantial fraction of the Cloud’s energy
needs. People are also rewarded with the opportunity to influence the Cloud
- to contribute to its output and participate in this giant collective

Hot air
inflated sphere

Photovoltaic sphere
Regenerative lift, converts
energy of people who climb
to the cloud into electricity

Tension rings every 30
meters help stabilize
the central
ce mast
Inhabitable sphere
Walking membrane

Central mast, as in a
tensegrity structure, takes
compression forces
all co

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. Water. Water is used to generate energy through a series of micro turbines,
The tower shaft will utilize heat generated and wind pressure differential to develop placed in both the rainwater and black water risers. Rainwater is collected
airflow - like Jörg Schlaich’s solar tower turbines in Spain and Australia. The wind will locally - mid-air - by the lattice of cloud spheres, saving on energy
naturally ventilate the inhabited spaces inside the Cloud during the summer, while requirements for pumping water up from ground level, and serving as
they’ll be sealed to maintain internal heat generated by the occupants and a battery for thermal energy storage. Waste water flushed and rainwater
the sun during the winter. drained from the cloud will generate energy as they flow down the risers).

Devices Screens

Air Structure
Living In
Tension Element
Compression Element 1

Compression Element 2

Energy Photovoltaic

Piezometric Membrane
Cable net, providing Incremental
tension to horizontal rings
tensio Aggregation

and supporting
s ramps
Sizes 5 15
A Relations

Double spiral winding
ramp, offering an
unprecedented experience
unpre B
for people
pe and cyclists C

rising to the Cloud

Overall structural system

Forces Structural PV cells
Tension sphere
Pneumatic structure
with cables
Compression element

Shear Force Air pump
The Cloud: an open source, interactive system
Like all tell-tale signs of brooding weather, the Cloud is a display system.
It is both screen and barometer, archive and sensor, past and future.
The patterns of its animated skins offer a civic-scale smart meter for the
Olympic Park and for London as a whole, sign-posting particular events,
transport patterns, weather forecasts, timetables and footage which can
be real-time or decades old. Its movements can reveal the movement
of people below, or even within its structure, detected by hidden sensors -
a space alive to the touch, an aerial ecology.
The Cloud implements a radically new
non-cartesian method of spatial display (a
suspended field of distributed LED signage)
that enables it to be seen from all directions,
including from within. It destroys the antique
divide between audience and spectacle;
the people become the project & projection,
watching and learning from themselves,
transmuted into light.

The Cloud as a real-time world The Cloud as a real-time
medal collection board London breath