For an overall simple design concept, Prairie Wind’s execution required much exploration, testing and some innovative technical solutions.
U OF S TESTING
A good deal of testing went on at the University of Saskatchewan under the supervision of Bruce Sparling, pictured above. The purpose of these tests was to simulate the effects of wind and to determine how much the rubber bearing pads would compress under the expected loads. These tests were instrumental in determining the final design for the base plate.
Most of the technology in this project is found the base plate of each pole. Designed in collaboration with our engineer Brian Brownlee, the base plate assembly consists of two base plate; one on the bottom that is fixed, and one on top that is attached to the pole. The top plate is positioned between two resilient rubber pads. While rotating about a bearing pin in the center of the plates, the poles are able to move slightly as the wind forces the pads to compress. This design allows the poles to move slightly in light winds and prevents excessive movement in heavy winds.
The landscape design underwent significant changes after the competition phase. We felt we needed to introduce more texture and public seating to the area. We looked quite a bit at aboriginal medicine wheels that have been found on the prairie and borrow some of their vocabulary. Similarities include the use of rock piles to mark the perimeter, radial lines towards the centre and a focal rock mound in the center of the space.
- STAMPED CONCRETE
We wanted to reinforce the theme of grass in the project so we developed a grass stamp for the concrete. In order to be economical and efficient the stamp needed to be a regular and repeating pattern, like a brick. At the same time we wanted the pattern to appear as if it was random. For this exercise the computer was very useful because we could test and print a large number of pattern options before we built the final stamp.
- TOP LIGHTS
The lights are the top of each pole are LED lights that shine downwards. Normaly they are used on trucks as reverse lights, so they have been designed to be durable.
We built a full scale model to test the apperance and brightness of the light (top right). In the end, these lights were brighter than we had expected.
- COLOURED LIGHTS
One the features of the landmark is it’s ability to change colour. At the base are 16 LED colour-changing lights that are individually controlled by a computer program. The overall effect can be quite fluid as the time it takes for colour transitions can be set. For different seasons and special occasions there are different light programs to celebrate the respective event. Here are a few of the colours. We thought we would save the ‘green’ program for when the Roughriders win the Grey Cup, but then again….