Atlantic Cities
Photos

This Dresden Drainpipe Will Rock Your World

This Dresden Drainpipe Will Rock Your World
LvE/Flickr

How'd you like to be looking out the window of this house and accidentally drop your phone?

Into the tinny maw of this byzantine drainage system it would go. It might make a series of hard plunges at 90-degree angles before doing a loop-de-loop, tantalize your hopes for a second by popping out into the air, then disappear once again into what looks like a foghorn. Does insurance cover that?

This most-indirect of downspouts is tucked away in a Dresden alley called the Kunsthofpassage, an artsy refuge that also holds a "Court of the Metamorphoses" and a giraffe. Titled "Court of the Elements," the drainpipe was built by artists Annette Paul, Christoph Roßner and André Tempel, presumably while on 'shrooms. They were inspired by the strange shapes of downspouts in St. Petersburg, which tend to be larger than average and hug the shifting contours of facades like thick vines, transforming architecture into art.

According to a Google translation of one visitor's impressions of the Germanic wonder (surely a deathtrap for Mario or Luigi):

Water and sunshine, playing with the play of light and fluid.... Exciting water games just for the very special kind of one, soothing to the other. The water makes music. The instruments can be seen on the wall. Every hour and half hour. The water fountains in action! Whether sun, rain or fog - nothing can stop the water! And it was really raining constantly times - then you can enjoy the experience of infinity!

OK, so that didn't make a whole lot of sense. But it appears that twice every hour, somebody or something releases a torrent of H2O into the uppermost arteries of the piping. On the way down the water makes a pleasant gurgling sound, delighting onlookers who tramp there in both rain and shine. You can listen to it in action in the video posted way below. Here are some alternate angles of it:

A view of the opposite side of the valley reveals a building almost as strange. I almost want to peel it, like a sunburn:

And here is the downspout ferrying rain to the cobblestones:

Top photo by LvE. The first in the lower series of photos is by Daikrieg el Jevi, the second by Richard Bao, the third by Denis De Mesmaeker and the bottommost photo by el Jevi again.

John Metcalfe is a staff writer at The Atlantic Cities. All posts »

Join the Discussion