When people say that they’re walking on cloud nine, they typically mean it as a figure of speech. With Diller and Scofidio’s Blur Building, that phrase takes on a much more literal meaning. Located on a lake in Switzerland, the Blur Building is designed to look like a hovering cloud of fog over the water.
This UFO-shaped building collects water from the lake, filters it, and then sprays it out with nearly 13,000 nozzles to perpetually envelop the structure in a white mist. To add to the effect, the Blur Building stands several meters above the surface of the water on stilts to give distant onlookers the impression that it is floating. The heavenly building is not completely unapproachable, luckily; visitors can enter the cloudy island from a 400 foot long bridge.
While the Blur Building is truly a remarkable structure and lives up to its name, it is a particularly interesting spectacle in that it is not a spectacle at all. It is an amazing building, but only if the structure successfully does its intended function and becomes completely shrouded. The architecture is impressive, but it becomes impossible to directly appreciate the structure because onlookers can’t actually see any of it.
Even after stepping foot on the Blur Building, visibility doesn’t improve much. There is a small wave-shaped overlook where visitors can stand just above the cloud cover, but it does not offer a reliable view of the architecture. Visitors to the Blur Building experience a sort of white-out, where the sense of sight and sound are dulled away. Once again, the spectacle here is that there is no spectacle.
Despite this seeming hindrance, the Blur Building does an impressive job of aweing anybody who beholds it. When the air is still, it truly does take on the apparent image of a cloud floating above the lake, even with the oddly conspicuous bridge jutting out of its side. When the wind picks up, however, it resembles something out of a science fiction movie, like a space ship that is breaking free of the clouds. If you do happen to find yourself in Switzerland, the Blur Building is a must see – just be sure to bring your rain coat.