In 2008, Pennsylvanian farmer, Arleen built a Solar Furnace, a structure that used concentrated solar energy to produce high temperatures, in order to heat her farmstead.
The construction of the furnace, in particular the use of regular non-specialist materials, in combination with Arleen’s matter of fact description of the project, inspired us to explore the approaches behind the construction of the furnace.
We were intrigued by the ad-hoc approaches found in DIY, hobbyist activities - in particular the kind epitomised by Arleen's project, which measuring 7.5m x 2.5m was extraordinary.
Working from archive photos, we replicated Arleen's project working as closely as possible to the original specifications of the furnace. In keeping with the approach of the original, we improvised many of the construction processes and materials used.
The furnace was reconstructed and used to heat a derelict building being used temporarily as a lecture and workshop space as part of Goonhilly Village Green, Goohnilly, Lizard Peninsula, Cornwall, UK.