City of Denver to get a solar-powered sun
By Ben Coxworth
April 5, 2010
As of July 1st, the city of Denver, Colorado will be lit by two suns. There will be the usual big one that shines throughout the day, but there will also be a smaller one that rises in the evening, climbs up the side of the Minoru Yasui office building throughout the night, then sets in the morning. That’s the plan, at least, for Brooklyn artist Adam Frank’s permanent installation entitled SUNLIGHT. Appropriately enough, the whole thing will be solar-powered.
SUNLIGHT will utilize a 20,000 lumen, high-definition digital projector, set up on a balcony across the street from the projection surface. A robotic mirror mounted on the front of the projector will gradually move the sun image up and then back down the side of the building, throughout the night. The sun will appear large and red and it first starts to rise, but will then shrink in size and change to orange, then yellow, then white as it reaches its zenith. The process will be repeated in reverse as it sets, and will conclude with a sunset that includes an omega and a green flash.
The project was commissioned by the Denver Office of Cultural Affairs, as part of an ordinance that requires capital improvement projects over $1 million to allocate 1% of the construction budget to the acquisition of public art. The projection system will be powered by a solar array provided by Boulder-based Namaste Solar, through their Matching Grant program. The array will reportedly produce much more power than is needed for the installation, so the excess will be fed into the local power grid.
What’s the connection between Denver and the sun? Denver receives more direct sunlight than most other American cities, while Colorado in general is working towards getting the US off of oil and onto solar power. "SUNLIGHT is meant as both a symbol and a demonstration of this profound change," said Mr. Frank.