michael jantzen

michael jantzen

Santa Fe, NM, US


The Helio Sun Garden

The Helio Sun Garden

The Helio Sun Garden is a prefabricated, modular, public art sculpture designed to make electricity from the sun for the local community in which it is installed. The sculpture (which also functions as a public gathering place) consists of a series of steel columns of various heights mounted onto a large circular concrete plaza with built-in perimeter seating.  

Mounted on the top of each steel column is a large steel sun tracking disc that supports an array of photovoltaic solar cells, which convert sunlight into electricity. The electricity is sent into the local power grid during the day, and some of the electricity can be used to light the sculpture at night.

Some of the electricity is also used to rotate the sun tracking steel discs and solar cells. Periodically, these discs can be randomly rotated into many different kinetic configurations, just to form interesting and unexpected shapes for the visitors.

Because of the prefabricated components, and the modularity used in the design, the Helio Sun Gardens can be installed almost anywhere with a wide variety of shapes and sizes possible.

Conceptually, the aesthetics of the sculptures were formed around the idea of creating gardens of giant metallic sunflowers supported by huge steel stems that visitors can walk around and through, while they watch the flowers track the sun.

The Helio Sun Garden is one in a series of public art projects designed to respond to the global climate crisis in a positive way by creating public art gathering places that function not only on an aesthetic level, but also make electricity from the sun for the local community in which they are installed.

The hope is that projects like this will help to lead the way in demonstrating how valuable art can be from a practical standpoint in our fight against global climate change.

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Status: Unbuilt