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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

Sea Dragon by Joh Architects

May 9th, 2012 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: Joh Architects

What Is It?

“A wind driven sculptural sea monster in the heart of Geelong.”

Drawing inspiration from Geelong’s history; a bay orientated port city with a history of both farming and industry connections. Along with inspiration from a future with strong visions of sustainability and independence.

“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 harbours natural environment”.

Sea Dragon

  • Architect: Joh Architects
  • Name of Project: Sea Dragon
  • Competition sponsors: Senia Lawyers, Deakin University and Geelong Independent newspaper
  • Project team: Christian O’Halloran, Michelle Jacobson and David McDonald
  • Software used: Autocad and Google Sketchup

How Does It Work?

“This beast 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 maximise 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.

“The rhythmical nature of the water rolling over the barrel would be mesmerising.”

Sea Dragon

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.

“I’ll meet you at the sea dragon”

Sea Dragon

Design Detail


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.



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 minimise water spray onto the break wall and pathway behind.


Categories: Autocad, Infrastructure, SketchUp

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