Clouds Of Data In The London Sky

  • It’s called a “celebration of technology” by Paola Antonelli, senior curator of architecture and design at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Recently an impressive international team of architects, artists and engineers presented their plan for The Cloud, a massive, highly sustainable, sculptural structure meant to display images and data high in the sky above London.

    The Cloud was shortlisted in a competition set-up by mayor Boris Johnson, who intends to build a remarkable attraction in the future Olympic Park. The jury still has to decide which submission will be commissioned, but the team behind The Cloud (including writer Umberto Eco and architects from the MIT), couldn’t resist leaking some details. The design draws on the dreamy inflatable structures made by Argentina-born and German-based architect Tomás Saraceno.

    Impression of The Cloud

    Interior Impression of The Cloud

    The structure of The Cloud consists of two 120 meters high towers and a series of interconnected plastic bubbles, made of the same type of plastic that was used for the Beijing National Aquatics Center. The bubbles are spheres that “would act as structural elements, habitable spaces, decoration and LCD screens on which data could be projected”. Ramps, stairs and lifts would carry people to the top of the structure to look out over the city. According to Carlo Ratti, one of the architects behind the design, The Cloud will be “a monument to crowdsourcing”, but it seems that no decisions are made yet about which information to show. Google showing a feed of searches “made by Londoners during the Olympics to give a real time ‘barometer’ of the city’s (…) mood”, which would be interesting. Others speak about weather information, race results, et cetera. It seems that the architectural exploration is more important than the data to show. Perhaps content follows form. However, it’ll be a fantastic building, a true landmark.

    Impression of The Cloud

    To ensure that The Cloud will be built, the designers “plan to raise the funds to build it by asking for micro-donations from millions of people”. They launched the website raisethecloud.org, which contains plenty of information and wonderful high-res impressions of the almost utopian proposal. Google has already offered support to scrape together the money.