London-based experimental installation artists rAndom International, who brought us the blockbuster Rain Room and its massive lines, have installed a mammoth tower of recirculating water at an abandoned German coal mine. The interactive design studio’s project, Tower: Instant Structure for Schacht XII, cycles nearly 8,000 gallons a minute and rains it back down 65 feet, onto spectators who choose to enter the liquid barrier below. Tower has been installed at Zollverein, a World Heritage site that features a grip of old buildings and historical mines, in Land Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany. It is the first outdoor project by the group.
Because of the site’s status as a World Heritage monument, six million cubic meters of water must be pumped from the mines in order to preserve the structural integrity of the buildings there. Tower acts as a contrast to the "solid and static architecture" of the surrounding site, the curators said of the project, while also utilizing the structural preservation aspect of the site.
“The ‘simulated structure’ of Tower is transient,” the designers claim on their website, “its watery presence a temporary spectre. By bringing such large quantities of water into the controlled form of a building, Random International investigate if a structural purpose can be wrought upon this otherwise chaotic element. The architecture of the space becomes performative, inviting those within it to experience the water of Zeche Zollverein in a uniquely physical and intimate way (and get absolutely soaked in the process).”