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News & Progress

Archive News 2011

26.10.11 – NEW MOON
Plans for Prime Meridian Landmark Continue / Wholehearted Support from Greenwich MP Nick Raynsford /
Support from Global Developers Lend Lease and Quintain / Interview with Eden Project's Tim Smit /
Aluna Sustainability Workshop / Aluna's Development Board / Alunatime at Trinity Buoy Wharf / Other News
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26.10.11 – NEW MOON
Greetings from all at The Aluna Foundation. Many thanks for your continued interest and support - herewith a long-awaited summary of a few of the things we've been busy with over the last year.

Aluna's team continue with stakeholder negotiations, feasibility and ecology studies around the proposed Prime Meridian location on the Greenwich Peninsula. See the Where page for more information. Directly overlooked by the towers at London's global finance centre Canary Wharf, the future AEG Hotel and Europe's biggest ballroom, the Aluna landmark will celebrate the River Thames, London's maritime heritage and its cultural diversity, whilst looking towards a green future for our global city.

Aluna's artist Laura Williams recently presented to Nick Raynsford, Member of Parliament for Greenwich and Woolwich, at the GMT Cafe in East Greenwich. Nick responded with enthusiastic support:
"I am delighted to welcome the very special and exciting Aluna project to Greenwich. Our maritime history and reputation as home of the Prime Meridian make Greenwich the ideal location for Aluna which explores the relationships of the moon, the tides and time in a highly imaginative way. Aluna will be yet another Greenwich landmark for visitors and local residents alike and will be another 2012 legacy in our Olympic borough."


GPRL logo

Two of Aluna's future neighbours, Lend Lease and Quintain, whose joint development venture to is known as Greenwich Peninsula Regeneration Ltd (GPRL), are supporting our proposed scheme for the Peninsula. So much so, they have joined Aluna's Development Board in order to help progress the capital fundraising campaign and the project's development towards delivering a planning application.

Adrian Wyatt OBE, Founder and CEO of Quintain, says:
"The Aluna project is a mystical, magical, horological masterpiece which reflects and embraces Greenwich's maritime history. Moon, River to Lunar Time."

Pascal Mittermaier, Head of Sustainability EMEA, Lend Lease says:
"Aluna is a wonderful example of 'sustainability in practice': a stimulus for reflection on time, place, technology, materials, history and our future.
It has the potential to be a true icon for Greenwich, London and the nation."

Aluna's creator Laura Williams recently interviewed Tim Smit, co-founder and CEO of The Eden Project. Tim is a keen advocate and supporter of Aluna, and urges London to help make Aluna happen, for it is more than just art – "it is a statement of our civilisation and where we are going".
You can watch the interview here:

Aluna's Artist Laura Williams Interviews Eden Project's Tim Smit KBE


Aluna Sustainability Workshop photos

Vital to the Aluna proposal is its long term viability and sustainability – particularly in this increasingly challenging economic climate. On Tuesday 28th June a workshop was held at GPRL's new building at 6 Mitre Passage, North Greenwich, to explore Aluna's sustainability. The day was kindly sponsored by Quintain, Lend Lease and Greenwich Peninsula Regeneration Ltd. The day was opened by Honorary Patron Nicky Gavron AM and Lend Lease Head of Sustainability Pascal Mittermaier, and included presentations from GPRL, AEG Europe (The O2), the Institute for Sustainability and Aluna.
Click here to download and read a summary of the day (pdf document)

Many of the headline actions resulting from the workshop are already underway, including the setting up of an official Development Board to help progress the funding, development and planning process for Aluna.

The Board is chaired by Quintain's CEO Adrian Wyatt OBE and members include Pascal Mittermaier (Head of Sustainability EMEA, Lend Lease), Andrew Storey (Joint CEO, GPRL), David Powell and Peter Mount (David Powell Associates), Nigel Hawkey (Head of Planning, Quintain), Julie Fitzsimmins (Director, Lodestar Marketing), Nicky Gavron AM, Mike Davies CBE, and The Aluna Foundation Directors Pippa Gueterbock (Associate Director, Aecom), John Burton (Director, Urban Space Management), Stuart Axford (Partner, Freshfields) and Aluna's creator Laura Williams.

The Development Board is now focusing on securing the next tranche of funding to facilitate:

  • Key site feasibility and scheme development work
  • Interviewing and appointment of professional fundraiser(s) to implement capital campaign
  • Business plan development including activities, assessment of markets and users, operational/revenue budget development, and governance structure and implications
  • Continued consultation with statutory, land and river-based community groups.

Our deepest thanks to all of you who continue to support us, and have donated to Aluna's charity The Aluna Foundation to help cover overhead costs whilst we continue working to secure a site and major funding partners for Aluna. If you haven't already, please consider becoming a Friend of Aluna by making a secure one-off or regular 'moonthly' donation on our Friends page. Your support is appreciated and will be shown here online, and at Aluna when it is built.


Alunatime Clock Click to enlarge photo by Derek Seaward

Alunatime Clock Click to enlarge photo by Mark King

Aluna's unique language of timekeeping – 'Alunatime' – is now running smoothly at Trinity Buoy Wharf (TBW), showing local moon and tide time to both the Wharf and River Thames. This 5m high clock, installed October 2010, is an electronic prototype that we've been testing over the last year. It's already been providing important research and development for the 38m diameter tidal powered Aluna planned for the Greenwich Peninsula. You can enjoy the TBW clock day or night - please pay TBW a visit, or watch out for it next time you pass by on a boat!

We'll be uploading a dedicated web page for the TBW Alunatime Clock this winter. In the mean time click here and download a pdf document about the clock and who's behind it.

Our moon continues to keep time for humanity, as it has since the dawn of time! Today's new moon heralded the Hindu, Sikh and Jain New Year Festival of Diwali – a celebration of light in the darkness of the winter no-moon skies. Hindus celebrate Lakshmi, the Goddess of Prosperity. Small oil lamps, divas, are put in houses so Lakshmi will visit and bring prosperity, and gifts of sweets are exchanged.

The new moon and its significance of turning from the old waning into the new waxing light cycle marks a new year for many cultures around the world. The last new moon was Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, when apples dipped in honey are eaten to celebrate a sweet and fruitful year ahead. The next new moon on 26th November is Muharram, the beginning of Islamic Year 1433. The Chinese also have a lunar calendar – the Year of the Dragon will begin on the new Moon of January 23rd 2012.

Full moon's are also times for celebration and festival: October's full moon and Buddhist Festival of Kathina brought friends, parents and children together across the globe in a celebration of harmony. Thailand's main festival of light, Loi Kratong, is celebrated on November's full moon, where candles, coins and food are floated as offerings to river spirits who will take away any misfortune.

Twice a year, around the new and full moons of the equinoxes, the moon's tides reach their most extreme and likelihood of surges greatly increase. Many people go to see phenoma such as the "Severn Bore" – a tidal surge in the estuary of the River Severn in south west UK, where the tidal range is the 2nd highest in the world, being as much as 50 feet, approximately 15.4m! Surfers catch the wave as it travels from the Bristol Channel all the way up the River Severn into Gloucestershire. Make sure you catch one of these in 2012!

Next 'moonth', the Moon, Sun and Earth will closely align to give us two eclipses: a partial eclipse of the sun by the new moon on 25th November, and a total eclipse of the full moon by the Earth's shadow on 10th December.
Click here for more eclipse information and here to watch a year of the Moon's phases in more detail.

We look forward to bringing you more good news soon!


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