Archive for the potential_sundial category

November 18th, 2008

UVA’s interesting stairwell – thanks, Ru

A new addition to the UVA school of architecture: a slot window in a stairwell that is shaped to catch the sun as it passes through the seasons.  The angles of the window are tuned to the solstices. Thanks “William” Russell for the photo.

November 10th, 2008

Mark L. Faverman – sundials from existing buildings

Posted in artists/projects, potential_sundial by Heidi

This abstract is from ‘The Sundial Theme in My Environmental Art,” Mark L. Faverman, Leonardo, Vol. 10, No.3 (Summer, 1977), pp. 177-181

“The author points out that in ‘environmental art’ (also called ‘public art’) artists must take into account not only their individual artistic desires but also the reactions of the general public. He finds that he has accomplished this by means of his large-scale events that are based on the theme of the sundial. He hopes that the public, attraced by the funcitional character of the sundial, will obtain aethetic satisfaction from the artistic aspects of the events and also see the surrounding environments in a new way.

“He describes a number of sundial events that he has produced or propoed, some of which make use of exisiting city buildings and monuments as gnomons. He has also made sundial sculptures and proposed a design for a sundial fountain.”

October 31st, 2008

Longitude Dial

The former curator of Harvard University’s Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, William Andrewes, has  become a “dialist,” or maker of sundials. His idea is to base the dial on an unusual type of map, and to center the map on the very spot where the dial will stand. The map’s meridians of longitude serve as the sundial’s hour lines, creating a union of time and space for that particular location—something no dialist or clockmaker had ever before achieved.

An inspiration for Andrewes’ Longitude Dial was a 1610 map by Nuremberg mathematician Franz Ritter (below, thanks Smithsonian website). It placed his city at the center, so that the meridians of longitude emanating from the North Pole could also serve as the hour lines of a Nuremberg sundial.

Article on Andrewes by Dana Sobel at

October 30th, 2008

One-Day Poem Pavilion

A project by Jiyeon Song

Using a complex array of perforations, the One Day Poem Pavilion‘s surface allows light to pass through creating shifting patterns, which–during specific times of the year–transform into the legible text of a poem. The specific arrangements of the perforations reveal different shadow-poems according to the solar calendar.

August 31st, 2008


Posted in digressions, potential_sundial by Heidi

Central tower as (proposed) gigantic sundial:

In the New York World’s Fair of 1939, a hugely popular exhibit was Democracity: a gigantic diorama of a utopian society set in 2039. From twin rotating balconies, the visitors looked down on what was supposed to be “a perfectly integrated garden city of tomorrow” and surrounding countryside as seen from seven thousand feet up. The city was a carefully planned community built on the shores of a river with the streets radiating out from a central tower–a perfect giant urban sundial setup, (although this may not have been what they had in mind).