‘Sea Dragon’ Sculpture / JOH Architects

Courtesy of

Drawing inspiration from Geelong’s history and from a future with strong visions of sustainability and independence, the ‘Sea Dragon’, designed by JOH Architects, is a wind driven sculptural sea monster in the heart of Geelong, a bay orientated port city with a history of both farming and industry connections. This industrial machine like creature will guard the Geelong harbour like nothing in this proud city’s history while remaining fearlessly independent drawing energy from the harbor’s natural environment. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Courtesy of JOH Architects

How does it work?

This sculpture is driven only by the wind and its moods reflect that of each changing day. Wind turbines located on top of the 7 masts are designed to maximize the wind energy available in a turbulent environment. These turbines transfer their energy through a simple gearing system (similar to a cars differential) to rotate the barrel. The barrel, effectively an elongated corkscrew makes contact with the water on each rotation drawing the water up and over the barrel in a wave like motion along the full length of the 75 meter long sculpture. The speed at which the barrel turns is a direct reflection of the wind speed driving the turbines.

Courtesy of JOH Architects

Why does it belong here?

This unique design will provide a strong focal point and will mark this activity hub while having neutral impact on the usability of the area. The existing open space on the Geelong waterfront is a valuable space for public use however; it is already well established and contains many land structures and sculptures. To reduce the size of this area with another structure on land would have a negative impact on the value and usability of the space. The sea dragon fills a unique void in the Geelong waterfront not already absorbed by other activities such as; Existing sculptures, sea planes, classic sailing ships, helicopters, the yacht club, piers & the carousel. This space along the waterfront is perfectly suited to a sculpture of this nature. The existing sea wall provides the perfect location to stroll along and absorb “The Mood of the Dragon” on any particular day.

site plan

The turbines selected for this sculpture area QR5 “Quiet Revolution” Helical wind turbines. These turbines are designed to work in a vertical orientation and are specifically designed to operate in cluttered and turbulent city environments. The drive shaft from the standard design QR5 would need to be slightly modified to suit the gearing to the required to turn the barrel. The turbines drive a shaft through wind motion, which through a differential gearing system at the base of the masts then drives the Barrel.

plan and elevation

The entire sculpture is designed to float on a series of hulls located under each mast. These hulls are connected along the entire length at the front and rear to provide a bracing to the pontoon as a whole. The advantage of the sculpture floating is that it can move with the tides, therefore, the height of the barrel will always remain at the required height relative to the water line. The pontoon will be connected to the existing breakwater by a number of structural beams allowing the pontoon to rise and fall with the tide while holding the pontoon in its designated location.

A steel cork screw that spans between the gearing systems on each mast. The barrel dips into the water on each rotation drawing the water up and over to form a continuous wave along the sculpture. The wind strength dictates the speed at which the barrel rotates and the height of the subsequent wave. Rotating away from the sea wall will minimize water spray onto the break wall and pathway behind.

Architects: JOH Architects
Location: Geelong,
Project Team: Christian O’Halloran, Michelle Jacobson, David McDonald
Competition Sponsors: Senia Lawyers, Deakin University, Geelong Independent newspaper

Cite: Furuto, Alison. "‘Sea Dragon’ Sculpture / JOH Architects" 02 May 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 19 Sep 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=231118>

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