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News & Progress

Archive News 2012

Latest News
Aluna Meridian Plans Continue / New Meridian Site Visuals by Wagstaffs Design / Aluna Presented to Academy of Urbanism / Aluna in Trinity Cambridge Alumni Magazine / Aluna at Wilderness Festival / Aluna's Lighting Architect Jonathan Speirs / Other News: Neil Armstrong / Eco-Poet Helen Moore's "Aluna" / Earth Lawyer Polly Higgins' Campaign for International Ecocide Law / Kogi Film: Aluna The Movie / New, Blue and Fruit Moons

Aluna Greenwich Meridian artist impression
Click to read more

Greetings from all at The Aluna Foundation. Many thanks for your continued interest and support - herewith a summary of a few of the things we've been busy with during 2012.

Aluna's journey continues towards realisation at the Greenwich Meridian location called 'Point Wharf', on the northwestern edge of the Greenwich Peninsula in London's Docklands. Despite the general impact of economic recession and other factors on the Peninsula and beyond, Aluna has kept steadily progressing thanks to the strong and unwavering support of our team members, advisors, advocates and funders.

A recent ownership change in the joint venture partnership developing the Peninsula is bringing a renewed impetus to the area, and this autumn equinox sees the start of a new tide of activity around developments planned for the northwestern edge. These include Quintain and Knight Dragon's Pensinula Quays, AEG's Hotel and Ballroom, and Aluna.

During the spring and summer, Aluna's board members and team, including David Powell Associates, Stuart Forbes Associates, Land Use Consultants and pro bono legal and marketing partners Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Lodestar, have been focusing on developing the outline scheme design for the Aluna landmark and public landing pier for Point Wharf, as well as legal implications around its delivery, securing further development funding, and progressing the business plan.

This autumn is particularly important for Aluna's development at this location. If you would like to support us, please consider making a secure one-off or regular donation on our Friends page, or contact us direct if you or your organisation are interested in contributing in larger ways. Whether small or large, all contributions are greatly appreciated and help keep Aluna alive and kicking!

Impressive work is now underway to visualise the Aluna scheme at the proposed Greenwich Meridian location. This is thanks to a very generous pro bono commitment by London's talented 3D and communications company Wagstaffs Design, who have joined the Aluna Team on a pro bono basis. Wagstaffs also did the visualisation of London's new cable car, the Emirates Airline, which is very near to the Aluna site and connects Greenwich Peninsula with the Royal Docks.

The first stage of Wagstaffs' work with visualising Aluna is to translate architect Stuart Forbes' concept into a suite of artistic impressions, combining 3D, 2D and photographic skills.

Aluna Greenwich Meridian artist impression

Aluna Greenwich Meridian artist impression

The first completed image (see below) was created by Xin Leng and Henry Yu of Wagstaffs, with input from Glen Tomlin of Stuart Forbes Associates and The Aluna Foundation. Wagstaffs are now working on other views to Aluna, including from Canary Wharf, North Greenwich, the River Thames and its foreshore. We will bring you these as soon as they are finished later this autumn – in the meantime, we hope you enjoy this first impression, which we feel beautifully captures the poignancy and scale of Aluna as landmark, pier and viewing point for this high profile Meridian location!

Aluna Greenwich Meridian artist impression Click to enlarge image by Wagstaffs Design

Aluna's artist Laura Williams was invited to be the keynote speaker at the Academy of Urbanism's Mid Year Review Event in July. Aluna and its Meridian site scheme was well received by an audience active and diverse group of thinkers, decision-makers and practitioners involved in the social, cultural, economic, political and physical development of our villages, towns and cities.

The Fountain, Trinity College Cambridge alumni magazine, has just published an article by Aluna's Trustee Stuart Axford, Partner at Aluna's legal sponsor Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. Trinity College happen to be Aluna's neighbours on the Greenwich Peninsula (they are owners of the adjacent land occupied by The O2) and Master of Trinity College and Astronomer Royal Lord Martin Rees has been a keen supporter and Honorary Patron of Aluna since 2002.

Click here to read Stuart's article (pdf document) or download Issue 15 Autumn 2012...we're on page 6.


photo of Laura Williams speaking at Wilderness 2012

Laura Williams also spoke at this summer's Wilderness Festival 2012 – 'a celebration of arts and outdoors in the wilds of England'. The Fo:rem (founded and hosted by Secret Productions of Secret Garden Party fame) is Wilderness' flagship ideas space bringing together leading thinkers and doers in the fields of philosophy, the arts, science and environmental activism.

JONATHAN SPEIRS, 1958 – 2012

photo of Jonathan Speirs, Speirs and Major Associates

Aluna's lighting architect Jonathan Speirs, of acclaimed practice Speirs+Major Associates, has sadly passed away after a long illness. Jonathan was a leading light in the world of architecture and hugely respected for his design schemes that so elegantly breathed light into many iconic projects around the globe.

Jonathan and his team were responsible for the original lighting scheme of The Millennium Dome (now O2 Arena) and the Gateshead Millennium Bridge, together with Aluna's engineer Peter Curran from Ramboll (formerly Gifford). One of Jonathan's most accomplished projects delivered is the Sheikh Zayed mosque in Abu Dhabi, which lighting changes in time with the cycles of the moon to reflect Islam's lunar calendar.

photo of Speirs and Major projects

Aluna has had the honour of Jonathan on its team since 2002, not long after Laura Williams flew the Central St Martins nest with her design and started building up the right team to develop and deliver her project. Jonathan and Laura connected instantly on their shared love of dark skies, stars, nature and the moon. As a lighting designer Jonathan was painfully aware of the light pollution unnecessarily created in our over-illuminated world, and therefore his responsibility to create ambient schemes such as Aluna that speak about the importance of darkness and the need to use the medium of light with sensitivity.

Jonathan will be very much missed by all of us at Aluna. Whilst we feel immense regret that we have not managed to complete the project during his lifetime, we are very proud to have been able to work with him, and he continues to remain an important inspiration to us during the final development and delivery of Aluna. We are pleased to continue working with Jonathan's team at Speirs and Major Associates.

Two tributes from The Guardian and Architects Journal:
Jonathan Speirs, Architects Journal 18.06.12 (pdf document)
Jonathan Speirs, The Guardian 29.06.12 (pdf document)

Another great man, Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, passed away just before August's 'Blue Moon'. He was Commander of Apollo 11 and set foot on our celestial neighbour on 20th July 1969. Click here to watch Neil make his "one small step for man, one giant step for mankind".

The Apollo missions to the moon had a profoundly significant effect on the way we see our planet. The famous image of Earthrise seen from the Moon is one of the most important images ever taken.

photo of Earthrise by Astronaut William Anders, Apollo 8, 1968

Photographer and Astronaut William Anders recalls this moment of Earthrise:
"When I looked up and saw the Earth coming up on this very stark, beat up lunar horizon… I was immediately almost overcome by the thought that here we came, all this way to the Moon, and yet the most significant thing we are seeing is our own home planet, the Earth."

Astronaut Captain Edgar Mitchell recounts his life-changing experience on the way home from Apollo 14 in the film In The Shadow of the Moon: "…I suddenly realised that the molecules of my body…the space craft…and of my partners, were prototyped and manufactured in the same ancient generation of stars… And that was an overwhelming sense of oneness and connectedness."

Anders' Earthrise photo inspired the start of the global environmental movement over 40 years ago, and 30 years later was one of the inspirations for Aluna. When Laura Williams saw it at the Full Moon exhibition in London's Hayward Gallery in 1999 (the year of the UK's total solar eclipse), she realised that we don't necessarily need to go to the moon, or wait for an eclipse, to see this bigger picture… That the moon as seen from the Earth, as it waxes and wanes, rises and sets, and ebbs and flows, provides an inspirational key to discovering the interconnected, interdependent universe and our place within it.



The Sun presses down with many hands –
we are pig iron smelted in the furnace; Trafalgar
Square bakes like Tahrir Square without its people.
And we have slowly adapted – come out at night
when it's cooler, stroll the canals fashioned
by the uprisings of the Thames. Little Venice
has spread; we're the Venice of the North
now the original has gone. And there's no choice
but to be in what's left of Europe – Mother
Earth has moored humanity together at her table,
and she's at the centre of all our decisions.
From our boat, I watch the river swimming
with the gibbous Moon; we use her light to sow
our seeds, and harvest every month when she dies.
We live by lunulations – have become silvery,
left-handed humans, who see their shadows;
and feminine in ways that men and women
had forgotten how to be. My husband and I
have taken rooms in a Moon Palace – we enjoy
the circularity of life inside the straw-bale towers
with our fine lunar gardens on the roof. At dusk
we meet the neighbourhood collective to plan
the night's work. The scent of Honeysuckle
sweetens the air; in the dark I have heightened senses
for finding all the herbs and medicines that we need.
Like our planet we're slowly convalescing.
To celebrate, my guild of astronomers has polished
Aluna – our tidal-powered Moon clock may be copied
by surviving cities all around the world.

photo of eco-poet Helen Moore
Helen Moore,
International Times - Aluna by Helen Moore

Thank you Helen for this beautifully penned prose! We are planning a website overhaul asap and will include a dedicated blog page for creative responses to Aluna.

Ecocide is the extensive damage to, destruction of or loss of ecosystem(s) of a given territory, whether by human agency or by other causes, to such an extent that peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants of that territory has been or will be severely diminished.

If you aren't following and supporting this already, please visit to hear about international barrister Polly Higgins and her team's vitally important campaign to ensure the Earth is given equal rights through the United Nations recognising Ecocide as the fifth Crime Against Peace. A law of Ecocide will change our world: governments will put in place policy that prioritises non-destructive business; banks will fund only those projects that are good for people and planet and all nations will have a legal duty of care to put the rights of future generations first.

Earth Lawyer Polly Higgins: ecocide is "recognition of the interconnectedness of life itself, and that ultimately if we destroy the Earth that we stand on, we destroy our ability to live in peaceful enjoyment."

ALUNA is a feature length documentary just completed by acclaimed director Alan Ereira and the Kogi, a genuine lost civilization hidden on an isolated triangular pyramid mountain in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia, nearly five miles high, on the Colombian-Caribbean coast.

For all of you interested in learning about the meaning of the word 'Aluna', the inspiration behind the name for our Aluna Moon Clock, and how we can connect on a deeper level of understanding with our natural environment, this film is a must! The film was premiered at Sheffield International Docfest 2012. Please keep an eye on the film's website for public release dates.

Please note - The Aluna Foundation and Aluna Moon Clock were not involved in the making of this film, however the film and moon clock projects share a common message and the teams have discussed the possibilities of future collaborations. Laura Williams presented the Aluna Moon Clock to Kogi representative Jacinto Zarabata in October 2010, see news update 2010 for more information.

This long overdue newsletter comes rather appropriately soon after a 'Blue Moon'! As many of you may know, the last full moon was the second full moon in August, on the 31st. When there are two moons in a calendar month, the second one is always called a 'Blue Moon'. This only happens approximately once every three years, thus the saying "Once in a Blue Moon".

However, this take on the meaning of Blue Moons is only about 60 years old. The original expression was used for something that was impossible (like "Pigs might fly") rather than just a rarity. The expression dates back to mediaeval England. William Barlow, the Bishop of Chichester, included a sarcastic reference to a blue moon in the Treatyse of the Buryall of the Masse, 1528:
"Yf they saye the mone is belewe, We must beleve that it is true."
See The Phrase Finder and Wikipedia for more information.

The last new moon heralded the Jewish New Year, known as Rosh Hashanah. Traditionally apples dipped in honey are eaten to help ensure "a good and sweet new year".

Enjoy seeing this month's "Fruit Moon" (the moon when the apples fall from the trees) wax towards Equinox Full Moon on September 30th. The gravitational forces of the new and full moons around the equinoxes are when we experience the most extreme high and low tides of the year.

Many eyes around the world will gaze at our beautiful celestial neighbour this September 30th, with two of the most important national festivals occurring: the Autumn Moon Festival in China and Vietnam, and Japan's Harvest Moon Festival known as O-tsukimi (literally "moon viewing"). Offerings in honour of the moon and the autumn harvest are made on the family alter, including autumn flowers, chestnuts and round white rice dumplings called Tsukimi dango.

photo of London Harvest Moon by Laura Williams

Happy Full Moon wherever you are, and thank you for your continued support. We look forward to bringing you more news and Aluna visuals later this autumn.

Laura, Pippa, John, Stuart, Toby and all at The Aluna Foundation


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