Last edited 12 Oct 2020

Main author

Michael Brooks

Blur Building

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The Blur Building was a temporary pavilion built for the Swiss EXPO 2002 by the architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R). Located at the base of Lake Neuchatel in Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland, the structure was intended to be an ‘architecture of atmosphere’.

It claimed to use water as the primary building material; pumping it from the lake before filtering and shooting it as a fine mist through 31,500 high-pressure mist nozzles. Controlled by a smart weather system that regulated the water pressure, the water vapour created an ‘artificial cloud’ that dominated its form.

The lightweight structure measured 300 ft x 200 ft, and appeared to hover 75 ft above the lake’s surface on four columns. The columns sat on piles sunk deep beneath the water. A system of rectilinear struts and diagonal rods cantilevered the structure out over the lake, with walkways weaving through it and providing a counterweight. The architects based this ‘tensegritystructural form on the work of Buckminster Fuller.

A 400 ft long ramp took visitors to the open-air platform where they were able to enter and move around in the fog, the intention being to experience a ‘white-out’ and alter perception of the senses.

Despite critical success and being visited by more than 1 million people, the structure was not intended to be permanent and was dismantled at the end of the exhibition.


--Michael Brooks

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