Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland - 2002

The Blur Building
The Blur Building was built for the Swiss Expo 2002 on Lake Neuchatel. It is an architecture of atmosphere. The lightweight tensegrity structure measures 300 feet wide by 200 feet deep by 75 feet high. The primary building material is indigenous to the site, water. Water is pumped from the lake, filtered, and shot as a fine mist through 31,500 high-pressure mist nozzles. A smart weather system reads the shifting climactic conditions of temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, and processes the data in a central computer that regulates water pressure.
Upon entering the fog mass, visual and acoustic references are erased, leaving only an optical "white-out" and the "white-noise" of pulsing nozzles. Blur is an anti-spectacle. Contrary to immersive environments that strive for high-definition visual fidelity with ever-greater technical virtuosity, Blur is decidedly low-definition: there is nothing to see but our dependence on vision itself.


How they obtained the blur effect

the saturation of the air with moisture, which produces
the visible mist effect, depends on a number of physical
environmental conditions.
these parameters include the speed and direction of the
wind, the environmental temperature and the
atmospheric humidity :
- the higher the temperature, the greater the amount of
moisture required to produce the necessary degree of
- when the air has a moisture level of, for example,
75 percent, the desired effect can be achieved by the
addition of only 25 percent.
- the volume of the space determines the output quantity
necessary for the saturation of the air with moisture.
in calm (windless) conditions the volume corresponds
to the size of the space. in windy conditions, however,
the determining volume is proportionate to the amount
of air moved by the wind through the specific space.
thus it increases with increasing wind speed.
- since mist hangs in the air, it moves in the direction of the
wind. starting at the point where the water leaves the jet,
a white stripe becomes visible. as soon as the air is no longer
saturated with moisture, this white stripe disappears.
at low temperatures with simultaneous high air moisture,
the stripe is virtually always visible. when the conditions are
reversed, it disappears almost immediately.
- putting the cloud into operation under consideration of all
these meteorological conditions is a highly complex technical
proceeding. appropriate adjustments can be made on various
levels, e.g. the placement of the spray mechanisms,
the number of jets, planning of different spraying areas.
the optimisation of these measures is carried out with the help
of a computerised weather station that supplies the necessary
nformation about the relevant parameters.
this information is analysed by the computer and subsequently
used to determine the adjustment of the spraying on the basis
of conclusions reached in connection with tests carried out the
year before.