Sugar-filled Solarium would tempt Hansel and Gretel
June 10, 2013
William Lamson's Solarium comes close to a real-life equivalent of the gingerbread and cake house described in classic fairy tale Hansel and Gretel. Though it uses steel instead of confectionary as a means of support, Lamson's creation incorporates caramelized sugar to create an effect similar to stained-glass windows.
Constructed for the 2012 Light and Landscape show in the Storm King Art Center's 500-acre grounds just north of New York City, Solarium sits alone atop an isolated hill and measures just 10 x 8 x 10 ft (3 x 2.5 x 3 m). It is currently used both as an experimental greenhouse to grow three species of miniature citrus trees, and as a place for quiet mediation. Panels measuring 5 x 8 feet (1.5 x 2.5 meters) feature on each side, and these can be opened to gain access to Solarium, and let in fresh air.
During a chat with Gizmag over email, Lamson described the curious blend of architecture and cooking skills required for the Solarium's construction. The sugary panes were created by cooking five cups of sugar to different temperatures in the 300 - 350 ºF (150 - 175 ºC) range. A pane of glass was then heated to 200 º F (93 º C) to prevent it from breaking when the hot liquid was poured onto it. Finally another heated pane was added on top and the edges sealed with silicone ... so sadly there's no point licking the windows.
The end result can be appreciated by those with an eye for architecture, design, or simply a sweet tooth.
Update (June 13, 2013): We've been informed that Solarium was dismantled (eaten?) at the end of 2012 and is no longer on view.