Our turbine house is home to our Archimedes screw turbines and generation equipment, but it’s also more than that; it represents the hard work of our volunteers and investors, as well as being the focal point of our project for the wider community of Reading.
Reading Hydro wanted to make sure our site made a positive contribution to the River Thames and Caversham Weir environment. We ran a mural competition in late 2020 to design and create a new piece of public art, to be situated on the turbine house; and our panel of judges selected from 11 phenomenal submissions the one you see before your eyes…
‘The Community Energym’
Artist: Guglielmo Miccolupi, Commando Jugendstil. Commissioned: June 2021
licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Licence
“We wanted to create a visual that could be both playful and engaging, so we played with the concept of water generating energy, and we came up with the idea of drops of water going to the gym, doing sports and using the machines to generate energy. We thought this could be a fun and powerful metaphor to show the interaction between the river and the turbines”.
Reading Hydro sees this mural as fun interpretation of our project, highlighting key aspects regarding sustainability, inclusion and community. The high quality presentation and delivery on site also make it a real feature for Reading. We hope that this will be evident to those who visit our site! There’s a selection of images that document the progress of the mural below. You can also find out more about the low-carbon electricity being produced by our hydro scheme here.
‘Global Climate Stripes’ #showyourstripes
Created by Ed Hawkins, University of Reading. Painted by Commando Jugendstil. Commissioned July 2021
Developed by Professor Ed Hawkins at the University of Reading, the ‘warming stripe’ graphics are visual representations of the change in global temperature over the past 100+ years. Each stripe represents the global temperature averaged over a year, showing the coolest years in dark blue going through to the hottest in dark red. The stripes are intended to start conversations about the effects of climate change on our planet, and help focus minds on achieving the target of no more than 1.5C average warming.
Reading Hydro collaborated with the University and Ed to bring these stripes to our Turbine House, adapting the standard colours into our own blue and pink. Commando Jugendstil led on the application of the stripes to the wall, painting each stripe roughly 3cm in width and the entire height of the Turbine House. You will note that there is a white space at the right-hand side of the wall; this is to allow us to add additional stripes up to 2030.
“The Climate Stripes mural is the latest step in our collaboration with Reading Hydro CBS. Being a totally geometric design, it required a high level of precision and careful planning in the setup. We also had to do some careful colour math to convert the original palette to incorporate the Reading Hydro colours, while maintaining a suitable tonal range. Thankfully we could count on a trusted team of volunteers throughout the process. We hope the mural will start conversations about climate among the community.”
Who are Commando Jugendstil?
Commando Jugendstil are a Solarpunk collective with members both in Italy and in the UK. They do projects that try to conjugate technology and art with the idea of transforming the city into a sustainable version of itself. Simultaneously, their projects also focus on co-designing solutions with local communities, to stimulate a just transition that can spark from the ground up.
A big thank you!
This mural was created on the walls of the Reading Hydro turbine house through a heroic combined effort. Our sincere thanks for volunteering both their time and skills to make this happen go to: G, Laura, Ruth, Helen, Belinda, Steve G, Duncan, Jane, Gillian, Anne, Francis, Nigel, Stuart, Steve J, Claire, Katja, Paul, Dave, Chris, Lidia, Alice & Sophie. Thank you so, so much.