Wind I Screen




Introduction: Wind I Screen

This project seeks to choreograph the climatic landscape of San Francisco in an effort to expose its temporal and cyclical processes while simultaneously providing a moment of respite. The city has a unique urban wind condition as a result of its topography, proximity to the ocean, and temperate climate. Year-round, strong gusts often come from the northwest, creating dramatic wind tunnels throughout most of the city. At its core, the project is asking a simple question: how can we register this change while activating previously unusable urban spaces?

Wind I Screen consists of a series of fabric panels that are positioned perpendicular to the dominant wind direction. Two metal cables stretch across the desired area of intervention and are attached to existing urban infrastructure such as light posts, fences and trees.

Pedestrians can manually re-position the panels for optimal protection and can also use the panels as screens for digital projection or lighting.

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Step 1: Materials + Tools

- 1/8 inch cable
- 5/16 inch vinyl tubing
- rope clips
- turnbuckle cable tensioner
- steel chain
- ratchet
- fishing line
- nylon fabric
- heavy-duty thread
- LED lights/projector

- sewing machine
- scissors
- pliers
- work gloves
- cable cutter

Step 2: Locate High Wind Area

Using your own observations or online resources such as the Real-Time San Francisco Bay Wind Patterns website (developed by USGS and San Jose State University) and the simulated San Francisco Wind Energy Map (created by the San Francisco Department of the Environment and CH2M HILL), locate a public space in your city with strong wind gusts. This space will serve as a testing ground for our "Wind I Screen".

Step 3: Identify Infrastructure

In this public space, locate available urban infrastructure that could potentially be used as attachment points for the screen. Potential infrastructure could include: street trees, light posts, fence posts, ballards, bike racks, bus stops, parking meters, etc.

Ideally, you will find two structures that are around the same height and have an appropriate spacing of 15-40 ft. Note: the screen can be deployed and removed quickly and easily and will not damage any of the infrastructure to which it is attached. 

Step 4: Make Panels

Once the infrastructure has been identified, measure the distance between the two structures and determine the necessary height of the screen. Purchase water-resistant fabric that restricts the passage of air at your local fabric store and cut a series of panels that can hang between the identified structures on your site. 

Once cut, use a sewing machine to "hem" a 1/2 inch gap on the top and bottom of the panels to thread the cable. 

Step 5: Attach Cables to Infrastructure

Measure your cable and cut it into two equal segments (depending on the distance between your infrastructure). Then, take one end and thread some vinyl tubing through the cable which will help to protect the structures from damage. Loop the cable around the structure and attach a rope clip. With the help of a friend (as well as work gloves and pliers) pull the cable as tight as you can through the rope clip and fasten the bolts with a ratchet. 

Step 6: Thread Panels + Tighten

Once one side of the cable is attached to a structure, begin threading the fabric panels. Attach the other side of the cable to the adjacent piece of infrastructure using the turnbuckle cable tensioner (this will allow you to eventually tighten the cable without too much effort). Thread the lower cable through the fabric panels and attach on both ends using rope clips. Then, to loosen any slack in the screens, adjust the turnbuckle cable tensioner. 

Step 7: Add Lighting or Projection

To make the space behind the Wind I Screen more interactive, try projecting a movie onto the surface or lighting up the panels with hanging LEDs. 

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    7 years ago on Introduction

    It appears that you have pictures of this being implemented. What were the results? Has this been refined? Any pros and cons you can list? Basically, what have you learned from it? Our house is pretty much in an open field and the wind howls across the sides. With no trees big enough to provide any protection, this seems like an inexpensive way to lessen the problem.