Delvoye – gothic towers

Designing gothic towers in 2005 was a whole lot different then it was in the gothic ages. Using steel (tensile force) instead of stone (pressure force) sounds counterintuitive to start with but the whole pipeline of designing is quite different. To be able to get from a rough sketch to a an art piece 10 meters high and 11000 pieces, a lot of technology is involved for translating human ideas to machine executable cutting plans ready for assembly, transport and show.

date: 2005-2009
technology: sheet steel lasercutting, welding
software: CAD, blender, lisp, python


rough sketch, outlining a basic idea, W. Delvoye
Drawing capturing details are translated to machine readable cutting lines
To deal with the scale (11000 parts) I trained a remote team (about 15 people) in drawing gothic steel sheet files, translated from scans


after validating the 3D assembly, structural cutouts are left in place for decorating (structural ornament and ornamental structure)
using scripts, all sheets are extracted from a 3D model, statistics are calculated and then sent off or laser cutting


software model is ready to be assembled in real life
all parts are validated before final assembly

thorough inspection upon arrival

assembly itself is often complex

More about the artist’s Gothic Works