i might have mentioned that one of the main reasons that get me booking flights is exciting contemporary architecture. and this diller and scofidio building in switzerland is just that, although it is not exactly a building as much as a 7,5 million euro challenge of the very concept of architecture.

located in yverdon-les-bains, switzerland, on the lake neuchatel, the wonder was built for the 6th swiss expo and it primarily played with the concepts of shape, building and space, an aspect perhaps not unexpected given the team that designed it. its life only spanned a short 5 months in 2002.

the structure was 300 feet wide by 200 feet deep by 75 feet high. the cloud was made of lake water, pumped, filtered and pulverized via 35,000 high pressure nozzles. a sophisticated system read the shifting climactic conditions of temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, and the resulting data was processed by a central computer that regulated water pressure accordingly.

the “building”

visitors could reach it via a bridge, not before receiving a braincoat (an intelligent raincoat) which, beside the obvious protective purpose also served to store personal data of the user and send it then to the main computer. the braincoats helped identifying the location of each user as well as comparing their character profiles and reacting colorfully depending on the degree of personality match: when people passed one another, their coats turned red in case of high affinity and green in case of inadequacy. i would have liked to get to do that!

inside the cloud, visual and audio input was intently poor due to the white fog  and to the constant humming of the nuzzles.

there was a glass box that helped one feel suspended, an angel bar that served many different kinds of water and where the thick fog was used as a screen for visual projections.

i’m so sorry i cannot see this super cool structure. but i can always research the architects and perhaps go see some of their other projects!

later edit: i have just found out that japanese artist fujiko nakaya was consulted for the fog system.

photo credits: copyright owners