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Cape of confidence: Marble curtain by Studio Gang Architects.

Photos: Studio Gang Architects.

If architects were superhumans they would surely have a cape something like the “marble curtain” designed by the Chicago based firm Studio Gang Architects.

The structure is entirely self supporting, hanging in tension from stainless steel rods at the top. The key to the piece’s structural integrity is the way the stone pieces interlock in a system resembling a jigsaw. The double curved nature of the piece gives a shell-like characteristic for as long as the structure remains in tension. I wonder if it will stand in compression too?

There are some 620 stone slabs each is precision cut by waterjet. When assembled the piece is around 6m tall and weighs about 700kg. Each stone sliver is just 3/8” thin and although the piece is structurally self supporting, each individual stone element is coated on the back with a thin layer of fibre resin. This provides some structural redundancy in the event that one of the pieces of stone has a structural flaw.

The white resin coating is also translucent and gives a diffusing effect for light passing through the stone. The effect is a beautiful inner glow that shows the marbling in the stone to dramatic effect.

The piece is certainly super, and an excellent human achievement!

Detail of the stone.

Inside the structure.

Drawings.

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