Architecture + Data Visualization + London Olympics 2012 = The Cloud.
The CLOUD [raisethecloud.org] is a massive display system, planned as an expo structure annex monument for the London Olympics in 2012. Think this decade's Millennium Dome, or the equivalent of the Bejing Olympics "Bird's Nest", but then for architecture and data addicts. The project age proposes an entirely new form of "observation deck", one from which one can not only see the whole of London, but the whole of the world, immersed in gusts of weather and world data, live information with data and imagery from around the city and the world.
Visitors will create electronic energy (up to 20MWh over the course of a year) through their gravitational potential energy, accumulated while they rise up to the Cloud, and captured by a regenerative lift. They can also influence the Cloud by contributing to its output. The structure will contain numerous inflatable, each with its own air pump that controls air pressure level. All pumps are networked, thus forming a distributed, self-regulating system.
"The Cloud implements a radically new non-cartesian method of spatial display, as a suspended field of distributed LED signage, that enables it to be seen from all directions, including from within. It destroys the antique divide between audience and spectacle; the people become the project & projection, watching and learning from themselves, transmuted into light."
"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. The patterns of its animated skins offer a civic-scale smart-meter for London as a whole, sign-posting particular events, transport patterns, weather forecasts, timetables, and footage either real-time or decades old. Its movements can reveal the movement of both the crowds below and those within its structure - a space alive to the touch, an aerial ecology."
The architecture is largely by Carlo Ratti, Walter Nicolino, Atmos, SENSEable City Lab et al, with the visualizations by London-based GMJ and graphic design by Studio FM Milano. The artist Tomas Saraceno was heavily involved in the conceptual work. Structural engineering was Schaich Bergermann und Partner (of Munich Olympic stadium fame, amongst others) with numerous other engineering services by my colleagues here at Arup in Sydney and in London. Google were on board, as were landscape architects Agence Ter. The advisors included Umberto Eco, William J. Mitchell, Chris Bangle and others.