Mind & Matter


Gossamer Architecture

Submit A Comment | View Comments

Tape Installation, Vienna courtesy of Numen / For Use.


“The empire is being crushed by its own weight,” Kublai thinks, and in his dreams now cities light as kites appear, pierced cities like laces, cities transparent as mosquito netting, cities like leaves’ veins, cities lined like a hand’s palm, filigree cities to be seen through their opaque and fictitious thickness.
-Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

The combination of increased resource cost and uncertainty about the future has inspired some architects to rethink the notion of enduring, ponderous structures. The Vienna and Croatian firm Numen / For Use engages the idea of an architecture of lightness, creating novel spatial experiences using an unexpected material—packing tape.

The firm’s recent installation within a former Viennese stock exchange mimics a giant intersecting cocoon that conveys an otherworldly lightness. Comprised by nearly 100 pounds and 117,000 linear feet of tape, the temporary installation may not be the most ecologically minded use of a non-recyclable material; however, the search for an ultralight architecture demonstrates that limited resources may be harnessed to profound effect.



Comments (2 Total)

  • Posted by: Anonymous | Time: 6:28 PM Monday, June 21, 2010

    what is the point? i would say this report is a waste of paper, but blogs are paperless. so this is waste of blog then. oh and a waste of digital imagry as well. and yes i wasted my time reading this post and even with this response.

    Report this as offensive

  • Posted by: Achla | Time: 4:21 PM Monday, June 21, 2010

    a fairly usless project, besides it being clear and light, it's not even good looking. If they had tried a livable shack/hut that would be another matter!

    Report this as offensive

Comment on this Post

Post your comment below. If you wish, enter a username and password though they are not required. Please read our Content Guidelines before posting.


Enter the code shown in the image

Username is optional


Enter a password if you want a username


About the Blogger

Blaine Brownell

thumbnail image Minnesota-based architect and author Blaine Brownell, AIA, is a self-defined materials researcher and sustainable building adviser. His "Product of the Week" emails and three volumes of Transmaterial (2006, 2008, 2010) provide designers with a steady flow of inspiration—a 21st-century Grammar of Ornament. Blaine has practiced architecture in Japan and the U.S. and has been published in more than 40 design, business, and science publications. The recipient of a Fulbright fellowship for 2006–07, he researched contemporary Japanese material innovations at the Tokyo University of Science. He currently teaches architecture and co-directs the M.S. in Sustainable Design program at the University of Minnesota. His book Matter in the Floating World was published by Princeton Architectural Press in 2011.