michael jantzen

michael jantzen

Santa Fe, NM, US


The Solar Fusion Pavilion

The Solar Fusion Pavilion

The energy from the Sun-both heat and light energy- originates from a nuclear fusion process that is occurring inside the core of the Sun. The specific type of fusion that occurs inside of the Sun is known as proton-proton fusion.

The design of the Solar Fusion Pavilion was inspired by and celebrates this process inside the core of the sun, and by the aesthetics of the extremely complex technology being used today to replicate the process here on earth, through the creation of nuclear fusion reactors. The intention was to illustrate the beauty of this high technology in the form of a functional art pavilion that makes electricity from the sun for the local community in which it is installed, and for the Solar Fusion Pavilion visitors.

The painted steel structure consists of a large circular solar panel array mounted onto the top of the pavilion that converts sunlight into electricity, which is sent into the local power grid. Directly below the solar array the pavilion forms into a symbolic reference to part of an actual nuclear fusion reactor, with magnetic coils surrounding a yellow doughnut shaped plasma core that is illuminated at night.

Under the symbolic nuclear fusion reactor, a large umbrella shaped canopy shades the space below. That space is used as a gathering place for the visitors. The canopy and the rest of the pavilion is structurally supported by a center column. Wrapped around the column under the canopy there is a large video screen that continually presents images and sounds of the surface of the sun.

Below the video screen, a circular seat for the visitors is built into the perimeter of the support column. Above the seat, there are a series of receptacles that the visitors can use to charge their electronic devices directly from the solar panels on the top of the pavilion. In addition, special information about the sun and nuclear fusion can be accessed under the canopy through the visitor’s phones.

The Solar Fusion Pavilion is just one in a series of related projects that explore ways in which art, architecture, science, and technology can be merged in order to form aesthetically exciting and informative hybrids for the 21st century.

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Status: Unbuilt