In Downtown Los Angeles, a glass slide is being attached to California's tallest building, almost 1,000 feet above the ground. Dubbed Skyslide, the slide will descend from the 70th to the 69th floor of the 1,017-foot-tall US Bank Tower. The building was designed by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners and completed in 1989. According to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, it was the first supertall on the West Coast. Constructed from 1.25-inch-thick glass panels, the Skyslide will be approximately 46 feet long and 4 feet wide and adhere to the building's exterior via a metal support system. Singapore-based developer OUE Limited is initiating the project as part of Skyspace L.A., an approximately 850-square-foot observation and exhibition space on top of the tower. The project is part of a $50 million building-wide renovation plan and upgrade led by Gensler. Skyspace L.A. is primarily geared towards tourists, though no doubt locals will appreciate panoramic views of the city, San Gabriel Mountains, and the Pacific Ocean. It will cost $25 to visit Skyspace and a ride on the Skyslide will cost an additional $8 when the site opens on June 25th. Although this slide may be the most vertigo-inducing, it's not the first large-scale slide to be installed on a tall structure. The 376-foot-tall ArcelorMittal Orbit Tower in London's Olympic Park, designed by Anish Kapoor, features the world's longest and fastest tunnel slide. Riders descend for 40 seconds at 15 miles per hour, getting fantastic views of East London along the way.
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What better way to prolong the relevance of a pricey sculpture commissioned for the 2012 Olympics than to tack the world’s longest tunnel slide onto it? Nearly 376-feet tall, the ArcelorMittal Orbit Tower designed by Turner Prize–winner Anish Kapoor and structural designer Cecil Balmond is the UK’s tallest public art piece - a helter-skelter eight-strand lattice of distinctive red metalwork modeled after an “electron cloud,” according to Balmond. Wrought from 2,000 tons of steel, the commemorative Orbit Tower lords over London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park as a hallmark of the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics hosted in the city. Suspended 264 feet above ground, the tunnel slide will snake around the tower five times, ending in a straight 164-foot stretch to the ground. Speed of descent peaks at a dizzying 15 mph, with the vertigo-inducing ride lasting about 40 seconds. On the way down, visitors can glimpse snatches of East London views through the transparent sections of the slide. Currently, adrenaline junkies will be one day abseil down the tower for $134, or $205 for GroPro footage of the descent and a commemorative T-shirt. “What more exciting way to descend the ArcelorMittal Orbit than on the world’s longest and tallest tunnel slide,” said Peter Tudor, the park’s director of visitor relations. “We are committed to ensuring our visitors have the best possible day out every time they visit Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, and as with all our venues, we are constantly exploring ways to ensure we lead the way with the latest visitor experience. This slide really will give a different perspective of Britain’s tallest sculpture.” If heights don’t intimidate you, plan to be in London in Spring 2016 to catch a ride on the world’s tallest slide.
Amid the hubbub surrounding the Space Shuttle Endeavor landing inside its temporary digs at the California Science Center (our favorite part at the opening: James Ingram crooning I believe I can Fly, with LA Mayor Villaraigosa dancing in a trance behind him), the museum has done its best to keep the plans for the orbiter’s future home under wraps. But we’ve managed to uncover some tantalizing details of the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center: For one, the new building by ZGF will measure around 200 feet tall, enough to accommodate the spacecraft and its booster rockets standing upright. It may also feature a slide to the base of the Space Shuttle. Now that’s what we’re talking about.
The New Museum has been transformed into a real-life game of chutes and ladders, or perhaps a Fun Palace a la Cedric Price, for its new exhibition Carsten Höller: Experience that opened this week and is running through January 15, 2012. The centerpiece of the show is a spiraling stainless steel slide traversing the fourth through second floors and providing what certainly must be the most rapid vertical circulation in the entire city short of a plummeting elevator . We stopped by to check out the slide and, after signing our lives away on a waiver, took a couple rides ourselves. Carsten Höller, originally a scientist, is known for experimenting on others' perceptions of the world around them, and upon entering the New Museum and being confronted by a series of ten-foot-tall mushrooms lined up against the back wall, it was clear Experience would be unlike a typical museum visit. On the fourth floor, the sleek stainless steel of Höller's slide emerges from a concrete floor, offering no insight to where you might end up. Sandwiched between an unusually slow, mirrored carousel and a mobile made of bird cages (and singing live birds), the slide clearly steels the show. Once saddling up on a canvas sheet to speed your descent, the plunge down the rabbit hole only lasts a couple seconds. You don't notice others gawking at you through plastic windows as you fly through what the museum has likened to "a giant 102-foot-long pneumatic mailing system." The spiral deposits viewers on the second floor largely no worse for wear (but watch your elbows on that last turn!) and uncontrollably grinning, perhaps wondering if they had indeed just slid through three levels of an art museum. While many made a bee-line for the elevator back upstairs, we suggest taking the spiral staircase to beat the others back to the line.