DRHGreytop

Bicentennial Solar Pavilion for the Arts,

Minnesota State Fairgrounds, St.Paul, Minnesota, 1975

Collaborating Mechanical Engineers: Prof. Perry Blackshear, University of Minnesota, Institute of Technology, and Sheldahl Corporation

This project was the first proposal for an "annual-cycle energy system" powered entirely by the sun in the Upper Midwest.

See this video regarding concentrating solar energy collection systems:

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    Ancient high-tech development of solar technology: wall painting from the Uffizi Gallery, Stanzino delle Matematiche, in Florence, Italy, showing the Greek mathematician Archimedes' mirror being used to burn Roman military ships. Painted in 1600 by Giulio Parigi.
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    In the last century the Greek Navy experiment with mirrors burning small harbor boats showed that the story of Archimedes' invention may be based in fact.
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    In 1882, Frenchman, Abel Pifre, demonstrated a solar powered steam engine driving a printing press. The boiler's capacity was 11 gallons, and 10 square feet of solar energy was collected in the 11'-6" diameter mirror array.
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    A black painted pipe carrying water placed at the mirror focus will be heated sufficiently to produce steam which can blow the trumpet, Comtek Festival, Belgium, 1970s.
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    The Solar Pavilion project employed the SLATS system by Sheldahl Corporation, of Northfield, Minnesota. Mirrors are focused onto the pipe carrying fluid that is heated 350 degrees F.
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    The geometry of reflection in the SLATS System. During precipitation or storms the mirror slats rotate and are protected from the elements.
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    Heat focus pipe of the SLATS System.
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    Compartive prototypical Solar Building Area to Volume Ratios.
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    Early concept sketch of Solar Pavilion.
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    Model of SLATS System array over circular roof composed of 4 layers of active insulation films that allow the residual light to filter in the gallery below.
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    Floor plan is a circle (heaven) superimposed over the square (earth). The plan consists of the exhibiton hall, entrance lobby and restrooms, kitchen and workroom, and a mechanical room under the entrance lobby containing a public "systems viewing" chamber. Earth removed during construction of teh underfloor solar storage system is employed in the final construction as a perimeter insulating berm that covers the 10 foot high perimeter wall of the Pavilion, and is also used to construct a performance arena to the south. In essence the concept of the building is teh ancient symbol of the co-insiding circle and square. The circle represents the feminine heaven and the square represents the masculine earth--or vice versa. Together they represent harmony. The plan of the exhibition hall is a square 140 ft on a side. Superimposed over this is the circular roof tensegrity truss system supporting the solar collector array above. The circular edge beam of the roof is in turn supported by twelve columns resulting in a clearspan exhibition / performane hall 136 ft in diameter. The perimeter of the Hall consists of a series of exhibit niches illuminated by a continuous skylight above. Although the Solar Pavilion for the Arts is built on one of the open parks of the State Fair Grounds, most of the site in the final plan is useable in ways similar to the present.
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    North-south cross section through the building, showing the solar storage system located beneath the floor--a bed of fist-size rocks through which the heated air from solar heat exchangers is forced thereby storing summer energy for winter use. A 13,500 sf array of Sheldahl solar collectors, SLATS, cover the circular roof. To optimize the summer collectin of solar energy, the roof is tilted to a 20 degree slope, with the highest side on the north. The Exhibition Hall below thereby is provided with a flexible ceiling height ranging from 12 feet to 55 feet. The roof of the entrance lobby is a public observation gallery accessible via stairs and ramp to the east and west. From the gallery the public will get a closeup view of the solar collectors. Below the floor of the Exhibition Hall is the Blackshear Annual Cycle Energy Storage System.
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    Interior of physical model of Solar Pavilion.
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    Model of Solar Pavilion.
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    Model of Solar Pavilion.
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    Interior of model of Solar Pavilion.
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© 2009, Dennis R. Holloway Architect