The Santa Monica Pier is awash in sunshine, bathed by the lapping waves and adjacent to one of California’s most environmentally conscious cities … all reasons that organizers of the Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) are locating the next round of their sustainable design contest here.

The project asks local students to design a theoretical work of art that could capitalize on the resources available near the Pier. While the contest is only for a hypothetical design, organizers said past contests have sparked real world implementation and the real benefit is to inspire creative thinking in young minds.

LAGI is an educational organization supporting the implementation of sustainable design solutions by integrating art and interdisciplinary creative processes into the conception of renewable energy infrastructure.

Past contests were specifically aimed at professionals and while the organization will hold a professional contest as well, they wanted to respond to what they’ve seen as a strong interest by youth.

“In the past, it’s always been open to university students, and it wasn’t student based, but we had great participation,” said LAGI Director Elizabeth Monoian. “We thought it was time for us to start reaching out to young people.”

Winners will be awarded $6,000 ($3,000 Middle School Prize and $3,000 High School Prize), and all submissions will be in exhibitions and a printed publication.

To win, students will have to develop a diverse skill set.

“Participating students will demonstrate their skills in composition and invention, and incorporate their understanding of renewable energy technology, science, and math by estimating the annual electrical output of their installations,” reads the competition announcement. “The entire process is free online at The Design Brief, Toolkit, and all supporting presentations and materials are there for download. The submission process is also online and consists of uploading three image files and one written document. Participants are encouraged to design in two and three dimensions and to take photographs of their physical model/prototype and/or use 3D modeling software (optional) if it is available.”

The submission process is open through May 15, 2016.

Dean Kubani, Director of City of Santa Monica’s Office of Sustainability and the Environment, said the City was happy to lend its support to the project.

“It’s a great fit,” he said. “The pier is a really interesting location, it allows designers to look at ways to generate sustainable energy from not just the sun but wind which we have plenty of and wave energy on the coast here.”

LAGI Director Robert Ferry said this will be the first contest to look at a coastal environment.

“We’ve covered different types of land use but a shoreline is one that we haven’t done yet,” he said. “It’s a new opportunity to work with different technology. We are also are responding to the drought, adding to the design brief to clean electricity and/or potable water, also creatively using different types of technology. Water from air or (desalination), and coming up for ideas for that that are interesting.”

While their Santa Monica contest is for a hypothetical piece, the group has had success actually constructing work in other areas.

“The one we’re in development with now is in Pittsburg and came from a design submitted in our 2010 competition,” said Ferry.

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