A project of the nonprofit Society for Cultural Exchange, the LAGI competition provides a platform for artists, architects, landscape architects and other creatives to work with engineers and scientists to bring forward human-centered solutions for sustainable energy infrastructures that enhance a city as works of public art while cleanly powering thousands of homes. This year, in addition to the professional competition, a youth challenge was added and the location selected was the area next to the pier in Santa Monica, California.
Quartz Hill High School’s team created “Octopus’ Garden,” which took first place out of nearly 100 participants. The installation “Octopus’ Garden” involved an innovative octopus design that would serve as a museum about local marine animals while utilizing tidal, kinetic and solar energies to power the surrounding area. The students also made use of the octopus’s tentacles to further expand the dimension of the art piece into the ocean, and create natural habitats to encourage marine life to collect around the structure, providing Santa Monica visitors a unique sea life experience.
Inspired by the natural beauty of the Antelope Valley, Palmdale High School students took home second place with the installation “Fields of Golden Sun: The Eco Poppies,” a California poppy land generator design that would sit as an inviting walkway leading to the ocean, while also using tidal, kinetic and solar energies to power the surrounding area. In the design, poppy generators closer to the ocean morph into water lilies. In the evening, the flowers would be illuminated by LED lights, creating a beautifully artistic scene on the Santa Monica beach.
Teams were recognized at an awards ceremony in October 2016. The Quartz Hill High School team received a $3,000 award to use toward classroom projects and both teams will be published in a book highlighting competition winners.
The LAGI initiative is a unique collaboration of the arts, engineering and sciences and an excellent way to channel students' energies into solving real-world environmental challenges creatively. Antelope Valley Union High School District LAGI advisors look forward to leading future student groups in taking on the next LAGI youth challenge in 2018.