Saturday, August 21, 2010


If you suffer from arachnophobia this probably is not the place for you. You had better stay away from this former stock exchange building in Vienna where you might get entangled in the world’s largest spider web ever spun.

You might, however, be surprised to know that this giant spider web has not been spun by any spider. It is the handiwork of humans like us. Amazing, yet very true. The idea behind the construction of the whole structure was a dance performance. The web form evolves from the movement of dancers between the pillars. The dancers stretch the tape as they move, resulting in the formation of the web like creation. The choreography recording results in the final shape.


The spider web formation has been given shape by the designing firm known as numen/for use. The efforts of three people spread over a period of five days resulted in the creation of this awe-inspiring piece of work. In a period of 120 hours, 270 rolls of adhesive tape were used which measured 14480 meters and weighed 30 kilograms.
Giving shape to a structure as magnificent as this was not an easy task. Rolls and rolls of adhesive tape were wound around the various pillars of the hall to create the basic structure. Over this basic structure, additional rolls of tape were wound over and over again giving it the final shape. Hanging in mid air, the structure is so strong that is could easily support an average tree house.
The strength of this massive spider web is not difficult to believe based on the fact that adhesive tape is the only material used in its creation. Adhesive tapes have a pressure sensitive material coated on a plastic film. These tapes are normally resistant to weathering, sunlight, aging and have withstood numerous strength tests over time. When such tapes are laid layer upon layer, the weight bearing capacity increases massively. This is exactly what has happened here.
The hollow routes created inside the web can comfortably allow people to walk or crawl through them. Enter the world of a spider. For the first time in the history of man, someone will be able to enter a spider web, walk through it and come out unharmed. Or shall we say, emerge with a whole new experience. This is a must see for all who can make it to the venue. For those who cannot, do make it a point to view the pictures. One cannot afford to miss something as wonderful as this.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Futuristic Hogwarts for Rich Weirdos

A flying saucer is really the perfect place for packing in pasty rich kids.

Bernard Tschumi Architects won a competition to design a performing arts center for an exclusive prep school this month. Entirely befitting a school made up of the malformed spawn of the astronomically rich, the place looks like a flying saucer.
The new building at the Institut Le Rosey--finishing school to the likes of the king of Belgium, the Aga Khan, the progeny of Liz Taylor, and many, many others whose parents have more money than God and a tiny gene pool--is a low-slung, shiny steel dome destined for the shores of Lake Geneva. The shape is meant as some sort of eco-friendly thermal shield, though to us, it has a vague martial quality; you half expect Gort to march out at any moment and start fire-beaming the Rothschilds.

According to the school’s clearly out-of-date Wikipedia entry, Carnal Hall (named for the school’s founder, not students’ pubescent yearnings), was supposed to be designed by the architect Paul Noritaka Tange, son of the great Kenzo Tange and himself a Rosean. Not sure what happened there. Our guess: The design was scrapped because it was kinda’ blah--not at all what you'd erect for the crownheads of Europe.

In any case, Tschumi is probably a better choice. The former dean of Columbia’s architecture school, he is best known, in recent years, for designing the controversial New Acropolis Museum in Athens. If he can navigate a political minefield that cuts to the bone of who owns ancient history, surely he’ll be fine answering to pernickety boarding-school types.

[Images courtesy of Bernard Tschumi Architects]