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A roller coaster made for walking

Posted by Aaron Burkhart at

We've explored many staircases on this blog that have been lauded for their boundary-pushing structure. From the cascading staircase at the Louvre in Paris to the never-ending Umschreibung sculpture in Munich, these designs have proven that staircases can be more than just passageways, but actual works of art. One staircase that proves this point perhaps more than any other structure is the "Tiger & Turtle - Magic Mountain" sculpture on the Heinrich Hildebrand Höhe in Duisburg Wanheim, Germany.

From a distance, this staircase gives off the appearance of actually being a traditional roller coaster, complete with curves, sharp turns and loops that would theoretically take passengers on quite a wild ride. Once you get closer to the structure, however, you'll notice that it is in fact one massive flight of steps.

The staircase is located on top of a manmade hill overlooking the Rhine River Valley, in the western part of the country. Construction was completed on the zinc structure in November 2011. It stands roughly 20 meters tall at its highest point and is situated 85 meters above sea level. 

Instead of intricate turned balusters and newels, the stair rails on this sculpture are relatively plain metal bars spaced evenly along the length of the structure. Despite the creative nature of the structure, the stair parts used on the project are relatively simple.

The project cost roughly 2 million euro to create and was designed by famed artist Ulrich Genth.

"The roller coaster stands for the acceleration and high speed of a tiger but the visitor has to explore it step by step like a turtle," Genth said in a story on the project from the U.K.'s Daily Mail.

While you probably won't be investing millions of dollars into a sculptural staircase in your backyard, you can still buy stainless steel stair parts for your home through Stair Parts USA. 


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