nob hill sundial

Client: Nob Hill Main Street
Year: 2014-2015
Disciplines: Design Direction, Industrial Design, Print Design, Product Visualization

The Nob Hill Sundial is a project for the community in Nob Hill — a popular neighborhood in the heart of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Designed for the Nob Hill Main Street program, the sundial anchors the southeast corner of the Nob Hill Community Garden. The sundial is designed to be an educational tool for gardeners to learn about what to plant throughout the year, and when to harvest it.

Nob Hill Sundial animated gif showing how the sundial works
Product Visualization of Salt Packaging
Sundial Mechanics

The sundial is designed around the summer and winter solstice, since these are ultimately the times of year where the sun is either at its highest or lowest point in the sky. Each horizontal band connects to two tiles; one side for months approaching the summer solstice, and the other for months approaching the winter solstice. The tiles instruct people what monthly activities to do in the garden.

The animation (shown here) demonstrates the sun's path as seen from the same time (10 AM MST) over the course of one year as seen from the sundial's location in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Concept Model

Light has no scale, so small models are extremely helpful when testing functional models. This is an early version of the sundial, built at the scale of 1" = 1'. The model helps confirm that the shadows fall in the correct spot for the time of year. To do so, the model is aligned to true north at Solar Noon, which is the correct positioning needed for a sundial. The sun calculation tool attached to the model base confirms that shadows fall in the right place for that time of year, and the shadow on the model itself falls in the correct position with regard to the sundial design.

Architectural model of the sundial made out of chipboard and cardboard
Material Exploration

Renderings are a helpful tool for material exploration. With 3D modeling and rendering software, we are capable of visualizing designs with textures and lighting that behave like they would in the real world.

Instructional Tiles

The tiles are the critical instructional piece of the sundial. There are a total of 17 tiles — one tile for each month of the year, one winter solstice tile, one summer solstice tile, one tile for both equinoxes, a centering tile (the tile which dictates the very center of the design), and a hero tile with information about contributors to the project.

Standalone July tile
Tile graphics showing planting and harvesting seasons
Standalone July tile
Straight on view of the gnomon (shadowcaster)
Southeast-facing view of sundial
West-facing view of sundial
West-facing view of sundial