The Cloud | broadcasting the climate of humanity


“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.

While updating our twitter timeline, we read about The Cloud project at @nicolatwilley tweet. After this, we inmediately went to City of Sound blog and start reading about this amazing project. Suddenly, we thought about Paisajes Emergentes’s Clouds, but reading all the material that we found at The Cloud’s site, we discover that the philosophy and motivation behind is different form PE’s Clouds. Let’s see:


From the Cloud web-site:

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 – from which one can not only see the whole of London, but the whole of the world, immersed in the euphoric gusts of weather but also immersed within that new, pressing and endlessly compelling environment in which we increasingly congregate – the digital sublime.



It is almost evident that Tomas Saraceno is part of the design team. Saraceno is widely known for his utopics designs and his inflatable structures and balloons. But not only Saraceno, the complete multidisciplinary team includes Dan Hill [City of Sound], Carlo Ratti, Walter Nicolino, Atmos, SENSEable City Lab among others. The visualisations works were done by London-based GMJ and graphic design by Studio FM Milano. Structural engineering was Schaich Bergermann und Partner with numerous other engineering services. The advisors included Umberto Eco, William J. Mitchell, Chris Bangle and others.

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.


It’s easy to imagine that in a project like this wind will play an important role, as is the element in charge that will make the cloud freely floats. 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.

And the most important element: People. We can read at the design statemente that 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.


The Cloud as a real-time world medal collection board

“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.” We really appreciate that these kind of projects are still alive, the new utopias [or not, let’s wait until 2012] that are all about people and designed for the 21th Century, according to the concept of the Sentient City and with environmental concerns.

It can be found more info at City of Sound, the Cloud web-site and also, you can follow them on twitter at @raisethecloud


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