The Urban WindStar

Urban Windstar on display First Night Raleigh 1993

On display First Night 1993, 94, 95 Raleigh, NC

A thirty foot diameter facet kite by Joseph Huberman

wpe40030.gif (1244643 bytes)

The "Urban Wind Star" kite debuting First Night 1992. It floats over the city plaza. Colorful nylon sails, tightly stretched over a framework of aluminum poles, form a huge faceted polyhedron in the sky. Tethered over the plaza it is free to swoop and glide between 50 and 250 feet over those on the ground. The large colorful star takes advantage of the wind swirling around skyscrapers. This form combines the precision of a sailboat, the beauty of a kite, the dynamics of a mobile, and the chaos of the wind in an urban corridor.

Ten-foot Test Kite

The Urban WindStar involved significant advance planning.  The first step was to produce a 1/30 (one foot) scale model to refine the design and develop a kite that would fly with the desired characteristics.  The next step was to create a 1/3 (ten foot) scale model, rig it between the buildings and evaluate the design under various wind conditions and refine the final construction details.  (shown right)

wpe65433.gif (1217761 bytes)

wpe40355.gif (882062 bytes)

Destructive Testing

The next step was to analyze how the structure could fail.  For this I constructed a 2/3 (20 foot) model made of fragile materials but using the same construction details so I could evaluate the safety margins and observe the kite during failure. 

wpe94256.gif (408614 bytes)

Displaying the Kite

Finally I built the finished kite and tested it on site and developed a complete set of procedure for the safe display of the kite on First Night.  The following series of pictures shows the kite being set up.  The kite can be completely collapsed with the release of only three clips in under a minute.


wpe20086.gif (595089 bytes)

wpe84930.gif (908823 bytes)

wpe08809.gif (1218143 bytes)

wpe40030.gif (1244643 bytes)

kite2.gif (65577 bytes)