The MacArthur Square, the interactive sculpture concept designed to be the anchor for the MacArthur station, hopes to reflect Norfolk's momentum and vibrance. As people and activity fill the plaza, the MacArthur Square reacts with brilliant color and vibrant light, a metaphor for the city’s endless potential.
Subtly sunken into the walk-way leading to the train platform, the MacArthur Square will be an impressive and interactive sculpture that defines the station for its visitors.
The cube’s three exposed sides and stainless steel frame house multiple smart glass panels (panes of glass with controllable opacity) that upon registering a visitor’s proximity to the structure, dissolve to reveal the LED illuminated second “floating” cube inside. Black acrylic surfaces reflect multiple arrays of light, creating the illusion of the cube’s limitless density and possibility.
Because of its shape, the Square offers a 360º experience, making it aesthetically pleasing from all vantage points, from the base of structure itself, through the windows of passing City Hall Ave cars, even to peering down from atop the Dominion Enterprises building.
Smart Glass enhances every interaction. As more pedestrians congregate around the Square, smart panels give way to a full view of the curiously magnificent glowing object inside, as its colors change in hue and intensity, heightening the user’s experience. And moreover, when the Square hears music from nearby buskers, it pulses gently with the rhythm.
The Square’s interactivity is visible in both day and nighttime settings, where the daylight interaction has stronger focus on the smart glass panels. At peak travel times (dusk and dawn), the experience is particularly beautiful, with both smart glass panels and inner glowing cube at full visibility.
The result is a timeless and iconic landmark for the station and a true beacon for the city, perfect for picture-taking, speech-giving and community gatherings that will capture the imagination of all that interact with it.
A central computer will control all of the hardware and interactions for the Square, with various input/output cues to “talk” to the installation artwork.
A system of ultrasonic sensors and microphones on each face of the cube will detect range and proximity of the people surrounding the Square and will be the trigger to a centralized control system to deploy specific reactions.
The control system will be housed off to the side of the installation and will control the lighting and effects. The Philips LED system will be controlled by a DMX-512 via a closed Ethernet connection; the LTI smart glass panels via USB. See smart glass in action here.
Multiple ultrasonic sensors will be strategically placed around the cube to detect movement and proximity. Once the control system knows where and how many people are around the cube, the lighting and glass panels will change accordingly.
Several microphones are also specifically placed within the cube to detect audio. Software will analyze the audio track in real time. If it detects a rhythm, the control system will gently pulse the inner cube such that the Square appears to be subtly reacting to the music.