michael jantzen

michael jantzen

Santa Fe, NM, US


The Pedal Powered 360° Observatory (An interactive functional art installation)

The Pedal Powered 360° Observatory

(An interactive functional art installation)


Michael Jantzen

© 2015



The Pedal Powered 360° Observatory was designed as an interactive public or private functional art installation. The shape of the structure was inspired by the centrifuge machines used for astronaut high-g training. The painted steel structure is forty feet long, nine feet high, and nine feet wide. It consists of a short staircase at one end, a long ramp in the middle, and a chair and bicycle pedal assembly at the other end. This portion of the structure is mounted to a cone shaped center support, which contains a large gear assembly. The gear assembly is attached with a long chain to the bicycle pedal drive located in front of the chair.

To operate the observatory, one only needs to sit in the chair and push on the pedals, much like riding a bicycle. When the pedals are engaged, the entire upper portion of the structure will slowly rotate 360° on top of the center support cone. The speed and direction of the rotation can be controlled by the speed and direction at which the pedals are pushed. The specially designed hood shaped chair helps to direct and maintain the occupants forward view, as the observatory scans the 360° view.

The ideal location for the installation would be at a high elevation such as a mountaintop or on the top of a tall building.­

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Status: Unbuilt