Njaudubon Pv 3

As institutions and communities turn more to renewable energy sources to power their campuses and cities, how do we incorporate such infrastructures into the landscape? How do we change the perception and visual impact of these structures? Can solar fields and wind turbines be more than energy production factories? Can these infrastructures be art?


To further their mission and reduce their environmental footprint, the New Jersey Audubon Society collaborated with Ennead and SCAPE Landscape Architecture to develop a design for the installation of a solar photovoltaic array. Their dual objective was to go “off the power grid” and to use the installation as a teaching tool to educate the public about the benefits of sustainable energy sources. The site for the installation is the Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary in Bernardsville, NJ, a destination for bird-watchers and naturalists who frequent the trails through the preserve’s upland deciduous forest, meadow, and the riparian floodplain of the Passaic River headwaters.

The pristine setting demanded an innovative approach to integrating an array of photovoltaic panels in the landscape. The design developed by Ennead and SCAPE draws inspiration from the ephemeral texture of flocking birds.

In direct contrast to the relentless and overbearing regularity of typical solar panel arrays, the design utilizes variation in the size of panel clusters, subtle differences in the angular inclination of the panels, and the subtle grade change of the site to produce a sweeping sculptural form that floats above the edge of a meadow.