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  1. ArchDaily
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  3. Constructing The Floating Piers: How the Last Great Work of Christo and Jean-Claude was Built

Constructing The Floating Piers: How the Last Great Work of Christo and Jean-Claude was Built

Constructing The Floating Piers: How the Last Great Work of Christo and Jean-Claude was Built
Constructing The Floating Piers: How the Last Great Work of Christo and Jean-Claude was Built, © Wolfgang Volz
© Wolfgang Volz

Until July 3rd, you can experience the latest and last work of artist duo Christo and Jean-Claude. Called The Floating Piers, the floating dock extends over the water of Italy's Lake Iseo.

The work consists of a three kilometer walkway wrapped in 100,000 square meters of yellow cloth, which is supported by a floating dock system composed of 220,000 high-density polyethylene cubes. These elements naturally undulate with the movement of the waves at Lake Iseo, which is located 100 kilometers east of Milan and 200 kilometers west of Venice. The floating yellow roads extend from the pedestrian streets of Sulzano, connecting the islands of San Paolo and Monte Isola.

The Floating Piers is the first large-scale work of Christo for more than a decade after making The Gates in 2005 with Jeanne-Claude, who passed away four years later. Due to the importance of Christo and Jeanne-Claude's work and the inspiration they have given to many architects, we wanted to investigate the process of building this spectacular project, which makes the dream of walking on water a reality.

February 2016: At geo – die Luftwerker, 75,000 square meters of yellow fabric are sewn into panels. (Lübeck, Germany) Image © Wolfgang Volz June 2016: Final installation of the docks, and covering with the yellow fabric. Image © Wolfgang Volz Noviembre 2015: Christo in his studio working on a preparatory drawing for The Floating Piers. Image © Wolfgang Volz May 2016: Workers install the felt that will cover the floating cubes before the yellow fabric is installed Image © Wolfgang Volz + 31

August 2014: At the textile manufacturer, Setex, 90,000 square meters of shimmering yellow fabric are produced. (Greven, Germany)

August 2014: At the textile manufacturer, Setex, 90,000 square meters of shimmering yellow fabric are produced. (Greven, Germany) Image © Wolfgang Volz
August 2014: At the textile manufacturer, Setex, 90,000 square meters of shimmering yellow fabric are produced. (Greven, Germany) Image © Wolfgang Volz

Noviembre 2015: Christo in his studio working on a preparatory drawing for The Floating Piers.

Noviembre 2015: Christo in his studio working on a preparatory drawing for The Floating Piers. Image © Wolfgang Volz
Noviembre 2015: Christo in his studio working on a preparatory drawing for The Floating Piers. Image © Wolfgang Volz

January 2016: At a factory in Fondotoce at Lago Maggiore, 200,000 high-density polyethylene cubes are manufactured over a period of eight months before delivery to the work site in Montecolino

January 2016: At a factory in Fondotoce at Lago Maggiore, 200,000 high-density polyethylene cubes are manufactured over a period of eight months before delivery to the work site in Montecolino. Image © Wolfgang Volz
January 2016: At a factory in Fondotoce at Lago Maggiore, 200,000 high-density polyethylene cubes are manufactured over a period of eight months before delivery to the work site in Montecolino. Image © Wolfgang Volz
January 2016: At a factory in Fondotoce at Lago Maggiore, 200,000 high-density polyethylene cubes are manufactured over a period of eight months before delivery to the work site in Montecolino. Image © Wolfgang Volz
January 2016: At a factory in Fondotoce at Lago Maggiore, 200,000 high-density polyethylene cubes are manufactured over a period of eight months before delivery to the work site in Montecolino. Image © Wolfgang Volz

January 2016: At the headquarters in Montecolino, construction workers assemble the piers, which are assembled in 100-meter-long segments and stored outside Montecolino on Lake Iseo

January 2016: At the headquarters in Montecolino, construction workers assemble the piers, which are assembled in 100-meter-long segments and stored outside Montecolino on Lake Iseo. Image © Wolfgang Volz
January 2016: At the headquarters in Montecolino, construction workers assemble the piers, which are assembled in 100-meter-long segments and stored outside Montecolino on Lake Iseo. Image © Wolfgang Volz
January 2016: At the headquarters in Montecolino, construction workers assemble the piers, which are assembled in 100-meter-long segments and stored outside Montecolino on Lake Iseo Image © Wolfgang Volz
January 2016: At the headquarters in Montecolino, construction workers assemble the piers, which are assembled in 100-meter-long segments and stored outside Montecolino on Lake Iseo Image © Wolfgang Volz

February 2016: Aerial view of the project’s building yard on the Montecolino peninsula and the parking area for the thirty 100 by 16 meter sections on Lake Iseo.

February 2016: Aerial view of the project’s building yard on the Montecolino peninsula and the parking area for the thirty 100 by 16 meter sections on Lake Iseo. Image © Wolfgang Volz
February 2016: Aerial view of the project’s building yard on the Montecolino peninsula and the parking area for the thirty 100 by 16 meter sections on Lake Iseo. Image © Wolfgang Volz

February 2016: At geo – die Luftwerker, 75,000 square meters of yellow fabric are sewn into panels. (Lübeck, Germany)

February 2016: At geo – die Luftwerker, 75,000 square meters of yellow fabric are sewn into panels. (Lübeck, Germany) Image © Wolfgang Volz
February 2016: At geo – die Luftwerker, 75,000 square meters of yellow fabric are sewn into panels. (Lübeck, Germany) Image © Wolfgang Volz

March 2016: Commercial divers from France are hired to install the underwater anchors at depths up to 90 meters.

March 2016: Commercial divers from France are hired to install the underwater anchors at depths up to 90 meters. Image © Wolfgang Volz
March 2016: Commercial divers from France are hired to install the underwater anchors at depths up to 90 meters. Image © Wolfgang Volz

March 2016: A diver connects a rope made of ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE), covered with a polyester protective layer with a breaking load of 20 metric tons, to one of the anchors on the lakebed to keep the piers in place.

March 2016: A diver connects a rope made of ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE), covered with a polyester protective layer with a breaking load of 20 metric tons, to one of the anchors on the lakebed to keep the piers in place. Image © Wolfgang Volz
March 2016: A diver connects a rope made of ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE), covered with a polyester protective layer with a breaking load of 20 metric tons, to one of the anchors on the lakebed to keep the piers in place. Image © Wolfgang Volz

April 2016: Frames are attached underneath the cubes to the deadweight anchors on the lakebed with rope made of ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE), covered with a polyester protective layer and with a breaking load of 20 metric tons.

April 2016: Frames are attached underneath the cubes to the deadweight anchors on the lakebed with rope made of ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE), covered with a polyester protective layer and with a breaking load of 20 metric tons. Image © Wolfgang Volz
April 2016: Frames are attached underneath the cubes to the deadweight anchors on the lakebed with rope made of ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE), covered with a polyester protective layer and with a breaking load of 20 metric tons. Image © Wolfgang Volz

April 2016: Workers push one of the frames underneath a floating element before connecting it with  screws.

April 2016: Workers push one of the frames underneath a floating element before connecting it with  screws. Image © Wolfgang Volz
April 2016: Workers push one of the frames underneath a floating element before connecting it with screws. Image © Wolfgang Volz

April 2016: Workers start to encircle the island of San Paolo with the first floating elements.

April 2016: Workers start to encircle the island of San Paolo with the first floating elements. Image © Wolfgang Volz
April 2016: Workers start to encircle the island of San Paolo with the first floating elements. Image © Wolfgang Volz
April 2016: Aerial view of the project’s building yard on the Montecolino peninsula and the parking area for the thirty 100 by 16 meter sections on Lake Iseo. Image © Wolfgang Volz
April 2016: Aerial view of the project’s building yard on the Montecolino peninsula and the parking area for the thirty 100 by 16 meter sections on Lake Iseo. Image © Wolfgang Volz

April 2016: Aerial view of the project’s building yard on the Montecolino peninsula and the parking area for the thirty 100 by 16 meter sections on Lake Iseo.

April 2016: Aerial view of the project’s building yard on the Montecolino peninsula and the parking area for the thirty 100 by 16 meter sections on Lake Iseo. Image © Wolfgang Volz
April 2016: Aerial view of the project’s building yard on the Montecolino peninsula and the parking area for the thirty 100 by 16 meter sections on Lake Iseo. Image © Wolfgang Volz

May 2016: The felt that will cover the cubes underneath the yellow fabric is transported from Montecolino to San Paolo island by Elimast Helicopter Service.

May 2016: The felt that will cover the cubes underneath the yellow fabric is transported from Montecolino to San Paolo island by Elimast Helicopter Service. Image © Wolfgang Volz
May 2016: The felt that will cover the cubes underneath the yellow fabric is transported from Montecolino to San Paolo island by Elimast Helicopter Service. Image © Wolfgang Volz

May 2016: Workers install the felt that will cover the floating cubes before the yellow fabric is installed

May 2016: Workers install the felt that will cover the floating cubes before the yellow fabric is installed Image © Wolfgang Volz
May 2016: Workers install the felt that will cover the floating cubes before the yellow fabric is installed Image © Wolfgang Volz
May 2016: Workers install the felt that will cover the floating cubes before the yellow fabric is installed Image © Wolfgang Volz
May 2016: Workers install the felt that will cover the floating cubes before the yellow fabric is installed Image © Wolfgang Volz
May 2016: Workers install the felt that will cover the floating cubes before the yellow fabric is installed Image © Wolfgang Volz
May 2016: Workers install the felt that will cover the floating cubes before the yellow fabric is installed Image © Wolfgang Volz

June 2016: Final installation of the docks, and covering with the yellow fabric

June 2016: Final installation of the docks, and covering with the yellow fabric. Image © Wolfgang Volz
June 2016: Final installation of the docks, and covering with the yellow fabric. Image © Wolfgang Volz
June 2016: Final installation of the docks, and covering with the yellow fabric. Image © Wolfgang Volz
June 2016: Final installation of the docks, and covering with the yellow fabric. Image © Wolfgang Volz
June 2016: Final installation of the docks, and covering with the yellow fabric. Image © Wolfgang Volz
June 2016: Final installation of the docks, and covering with the yellow fabric. Image © Wolfgang Volz
June 2016: Final installation of the docks, and covering with the yellow fabric. Image © Wolfgang Volz
June 2016: Final installation of the docks, and covering with the yellow fabric. Image © Wolfgang Volz

Junio 2016: From the evening of June 15 to the evening of June 17, teams unfurl 100,000 square meters of shimmering dahlia-yellow fabric on the piers and pedestrian streets in Sulzano and Peschiera Maraglio

From the evening of June 15 to the evening of June 17, teams unfurl 100,000 square meters of shimmering dahlia-yellow fabric on the piers and pedestrian streets in Sulzano and Peschiera Maraglio. Image © Wolfgang Volz
From the evening of June 15 to the evening of June 17, teams unfurl 100,000 square meters of shimmering dahlia-yellow fabric on the piers and pedestrian streets in Sulzano and Peschiera Maraglio. Image © Wolfgang Volz
From the evening of June 15 to the evening of June 17, teams unfurl 100,000 square meters of shimmering dahlia-yellow fabric on the piers and pedestrian streets in Sulzano and Peschiera Maraglio. Image © Wolfgang Volz
From the evening of June 15 to the evening of June 17, teams unfurl 100,000 square meters of shimmering dahlia-yellow fabric on the piers and pedestrian streets in Sulzano and Peschiera Maraglio. Image © Wolfgang Volz
From the evening of June 15 to the evening of June 17, teams unfurl 100,000 square meters of shimmering dahlia-yellow fabric on the piers and pedestrian streets in Sulzano and Peschiera Maraglio. Image © Wolfgang Volz
From the evening of June 15 to the evening of June 17, teams unfurl 100,000 square meters of shimmering dahlia-yellow fabric on the piers and pedestrian streets in Sulzano and Peschiera Maraglio. Image © Wolfgang Volz

'Floating Piers' de Christo te permitirá caminar sobre el agua

About this author
Pola Mora
Author
Cite: Mora, Pola. "Constructing The Floating Piers: How the Last Great Work of Christo and Jean-Claude was Built" [The Floating Piers: Cómo se construyó la última gran obra de Christo y Jeanne-Claude] 30 Jun 2016. ArchDaily. (Trans. Doroteo, Jan) Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/790428/constructing-the-floating-piers-how-the-last-great-work-of-christo-and-jean-claude-was-built/> ISSN 0719-8884
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