tomas saraceno: cloud city on the met roof tomas saraceno: cloud city on the met roof
may 16, 2012

tomas saraceno: cloud city on the met roof

on the roof- ‘cloud city’ by tomás saraceno, 2012
54″ L x 29″ W x 28″ H
glass (shiny, mirrored, transparent), steel joints, steel cables
all images © tomás saraceno


tomás saraceno on the roof: cloud city at the met
the metropolitan museum of art, new york city, new york, USA
on now until november 4th, 2012


argentinian artist tomás saraceno has developed his first major commissioned, site-specific installation in the united states for the roof of the metropolitan museum of art in new york city entitled ‘cloud city’. the geodesic dome has been built from sixteen interconnected modules in the museum’s iris and b. gerald cantor roof garden measuring fifty-four feet long, twenty-nine feet wide and twenty-eight feet high. the angular and bubbled form of the piece is comprised of glass segments cut in non-identical geometric shapes held in place by steel joints, reinforcements and steel cables.


the work recalls the artist’s interest in chemistry, biology, physics, engineering, and cosmos, drawing its shape from bacteria, clouds, universes, foam and animals’ neural communication networks. the habitat-like, clustered sculpture has been formed in saraceno’s signature artistic approach, incorporating facets of architecture, complex geometries, biology and human involvement in order to aid in his continued investigation into experiential environments.

a view of the completed installation



the MET has made the installation accessible to a limited amount of museum goers for a small portion of time to experience panoramic views of central park and a high-rise vision of manhattan’s cityscape from the interior of ‘cloud city’. the alternately reflective, shined and transparent glass components create dizzying spatial illusions and a stunning aerial perspective of the picturesque city. the interactive sculpture is outfitted with a series of stairs within its structure, guiding its visitors to the uppermost modules of its non-linear body.

the finished work just after all segments had been put in place



saraceno again attempts to re-conceive of a familiar environment, picturing this scene through new lens provided by a new built as a participatory contingent sub-environment for which the gallery-goer is required to interact with. due to the particular limitations such as weather, ticketing and dress code enforced upon visitors, the MET has created a webpage for the geodesic dome with news updates and instructions for those who wish to enter the installation in order to maintain the sculptural integrity of the piece.

left: ‘tomás saraceno on the roof: cloud city’
right: a view of manhattan from the inside of the sculpture

a ground perspective, looking up to view of the look-out pods at the top of the sculpture

the installation pictures the cityscape upon its oddly-shaped reflective surfaces

each of the sixteen modules were transported to the met on the back of an open-bed truck

the pods were then lifted with a crane and placed on the flat roof of the museum

the interconnected components are secured into one piece measuring fifty-four feet long by twenty-nine feet wide and twenty-eight feet high

several workers belay from the steel frame of the structure in order to secure the oddly-shaped mirrored, shiny and transparent glass components

the massive geodesic sculpture in progress

the visitor may look out to the street below through transparent panes of glass, while the reflective surfaces mirror the observer’s own image inside the dome
from various angles

the 20 ton structure is anchored to the roof of the museum by a series of steel cables

artist’s conceptual montage

artist’s conceptual montage

    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.

    comments policy
    LOG IN
    designboom's comment policy guidelines
    generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
    the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

    what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
    let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

    - please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
    - please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
    - please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
    - please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
    - please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
    (there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
    in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
    the best 100-200 entries too.)

    a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


    a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

    art news