Wind I Screen is a series of modular windbreaks exploring how space can be activated during uncomfortable moments of high wind activity.
At its core, the Wind I Screen asks a simple question: how can we harness the latent potential of urban wind? More specifically, how can we use wind as a wind break?
The system consists of a simple wood box, 15’x3’, positioned perpendicular to the dominant wind flow. The interior of the box has a cavity which directs wind up through the box to a tensile pillow. The pillow is assembled using heavy-weight translucent fabric and a constant force spring. With enough wind, the pillow will begin to inflate – eventually standing erect and creating a wind block. During this time, visitors can use the structure as a bench. Then, when the winds die down, the spring will cause the structure to retract into the box.
The installation creates of a moment of calm within turbulent urban spaces like Mint Plaza. Instead of serving merely as a surface for pedestrian traffic during high energy wind scenarios, the project will provide a break – a break for lounging, reading, socializing. It will activate the space during times when activation seems nearly impossible.
Earlier this year the City of San Francisco unveiled an online wind map to provide better data regarding wind energy potential on the peninsula. This project aims to tap into this existing resource. If built and disseminated across the city, each module could have a unique quick response code etched onto its surface. The QR code would then lead visitors to the wind map, showing the individual wind break and its energy data as well as the locations of the other windbreaks across the city.
The amount of time needed to construct the physical part of the project is only a few hours (provided that all of the material is easily accessible). For San Francisco, the online interface already exists and will only need minor tweaks to position the windbreaks within the map. If replicated in other cities where a similar platform does not exist, a substantial amount of time will be needed to model the urban wind patterns.
Project by Emily Schlickman