0709 - Organograph


Organograph is a monumental architectural sculpture proposed for the Urban Confluence competition in San Jose, CA. A towering kinetic building in the shape of a blossoming heliotropic flower, it is at once a call to action on climate change, a giant clock, and a community congregation hub for civic activity and cross pollination. The three interlinked animated figures inside elucidate the dynamics of the Earth's carbon cycle, viscerally illustrating the challenges of our dependence on fossil fuels. Organograph is a call for change and an iconic beacon of hope, for the people of Silicon Valley, and of the world.


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Morning breaks over downtown San Jose as the giant rotating Organograph sculpture awakens. As the sun rises, people gather to watch its three giant phototropic solar-power-collecting petals open to the sky, generating all of its power. They lift to reveal the fascinating world within, beckoning us to enter and experience.


Enter the glass-covered Riparian Dome, strolling the footpaths between the pools and stopping to read interpretive signs about the river environment. Western Pond Turtles bask lazily in a pile across the pool. Exit the dome and ascend the ramp into the upper clockwork structure. Through the transparent floors, giant gearworks rotate, marking the passage of time. Three interlinked figures: human, plant, and animal, animate vertically through the floors in a symbolic dance of Earth’s carbon cycle.


Ascend inside through the three transparent levels of the open-air clockworks, experiencing a different biome at each level, from Moist Forest, to Chaparral on the top floor. Interpretive signage and links to an online portal guides the ecologically-curious, while the animated motions of the Human, the Plant, and the Animal fascinate the schoolchildren and the mechanically-minded. Enjoy views of the San Jose cityscape from the 120’ high top-level.


Locals converge at lunch kiosks to enjoy locally sourced foods and farmers markets. In the cozy interspersed seating areas they enjoy the interplay of light and shadow cast across the parkscape, while participating in vibrant discussions.


As dusk recedes, the giant Solar Petals slowly close, closing the Organograph to visitors, and ensuring safety at night. Swirls of muted blue and green LED lights emanate from inside Organograph, using Convolutional Neural Networks to present an abstracted visual summary of Earth's climatic evolution.


The Organograph continues rotating through the tranquility of night, its continual sweep evoking Time as a link between the natural history of San Jose, and our global community’s path to the future.


The Organograph is a monumental icon celebrating the innovation of Silicon Valley: at once a clock, a flower, a sculpture, and a community hub. At its heart, Organograph serves as a call to action on climate change, illustrating the challenges of our fossil fuel dependence, and elucidating the dynamics of the Earth’s carbon cycle. Organograph serves as a beacon of hope for the people of Silicon Valley and the entire world.