About This Project

Outbuildings /

Stepping Stones Museum Kinetic Energy Follies

Completion Year: 2009
Beinfield Project Team: Bruce Beinfield FAIA, James Wassell, Dylan Wassell
Fabricator: Showmotion Inc.

Awards & Honors:
2008 American Institute of Architects, Connecticut Chapter
Award for Design Excellence

The kinetic sculptures are a series of three garden “follies” that demonstrate simple principles of energy generation and also create percussive music. These three elements are designed to assist in creating a pedestrian link between downtown Norwalk and Matthews Park and the park’s cultural institutions, Stepping Stones Children’s Museum, the Lockwood Matthews Mansion, and the Center for Contemporary Printmaking.

The pieces are meant to be educational and whimsical. They draw their power from local resources: sun, wind and water. The first includes a photo-voltaic array powering a cable drive to cam-activated drumsticks that strike a graduated series of metal cymbals. The base of the sculpture houses a battery and motor powered by the solar- collecting apparatus.

The second piece is a wind-powered motorized oversized wind-chime whose sound and song is determined by the randomness of the weather. A giant propeller atop the sculpture captures the wind. Glass prisms add sparkle and movement. All the moving parts are visible to onlookers to allow understanding of the energy principles.

The third folly represents water power, with a pump powered by photo-voltaics. Water spills through a simple treadmill propulsion system which then activates large “rain sticks” that pivot on axels and create natural music.

Each piece is dynamic in nature with an array of moving metal parts and over-sized in scale. Their scale gives them totemic and anthropomorphic qualities that create the idea that these are “sentries” in the garden, a friendly watchful presence that guards, educates and entertains.

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