Student-Designed, Soccer-Inspired Solar Sculpture to Grace Entry of Orlando City Stadium

solar panel statue glenn and church

A multi-disciplinary team of University of Central Florida students took a step toward bringing a class project to life when executives from OUC – The Reliable One, and Orlando City SC selected their design for a solar-powered art sculpture that will grace the entry of Orlando City Stadium, the home of Orlando City in Major League Soccer and Orlando Pride in the National Women’s Soccer League.

“Gyration” was one of three sculptures created in response to a challenge by project sponsor OUC to develop an aesthetically pleasing sculpture that doubles as a source of renewable energy. “Gyration” features a rendition of a soccer ball designed with intricate gold metal that casts unique, lattice-like shadows on the surrounding ground. The sculpture, after lighting effects, will produce 1,264 kWh annually, more than enough to offset an electric-vehicle charging station – a requirement of OUC’s Emerging Technology team, which supervised the project along the way.

“Artistry and engineering go hand-in-hand. That’s why this partnership makes perfect sense for OUC and our community,” said Linda Ferrone, OUC Vice President of Strategy, Sustainability and Emerging Technologies. “The beautiful sculpture is a testament to our continued commitment to ensuring a reliable, sustainable future for generations to come.”

The student team was one of three that presented their sculptures during two “Shark Tank” style presentations that included judging panels comprised of OUC and Orlando City SC executives. Each team showcased a one-eighth sized model of their sculpture and then tackled a variety of questions related to their artistic approach, material selection, weight load, weather-resistance, solar power generation, and construction plan.

The winning sculpture was created by an 11-member team comprised of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and art students. The full-scale sculpture will stand more than 15 feet high and almost 10 feet in diameter, and will be placed at the corner of W. Church Street and Glenn Lane.

“We are very proud of the students who participated in this project with our soccer club in mind,” Orlando City SC CEO Alex Leitão said. “The winning solar power sculpture will be an iconic landmark in our stadium and a perfect shot for fans and our broadcast partners to use on match days. We are thankful to OUC and the students for their creative inspiration.”

Orlando City Stadium opened its doors in 2017, embracing the Central Florida community—largely made up of UCF alumni, students and fans. The LEED certified soccer stadium is home to the first fully safe-standing section in North America, angled at 33 degrees, to allow 3,800 fans to stand, cheer and support their home teams. With 583 wireless access points ensuring free Wi-Fi access, Orlando City Stadium is one of the most connected stadiums in the league. The four main stands are designed with metal deck canopy roofs to enhance and amplify the noise of the fans beneath them.

The project provides UCF students with practical experience and the opportunity to work with industry experts to bring their concept to fruition. The next step for the selected project is review by Orlando City's Architectural Review Board. The goal is to have the sculpture in place for the 2019 soccer season.

“At UCF, we are thankful to have partners such as OUC and Orlando City SC that give our students hands-on, real-world learning experiences,” said Michael Georgiopoulos, dean of the UCF College of Engineering and Computer Science. “The winning design is a culmination of two semesters worth of hard work from our students in the engineering Senior Design capstone process, collaborating with UCF art students, and we're excited to see their tremendous effort pay off in a tangible way to benefit the community."