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The Great Pyramid News Blog: All Posts

dpa news story

German news agency dpa ran a story about the Great Pyramid earlier this week, herein German or there in English. The headline and intro spectacularizes the potential size again, but still the piece is factually correct. Since a couple of people seemed unsure of potential legal impediments, we were particularly glad to see this bit published:

The German Association of Undertakers in Dusseldorf believes the idea is feasible. “It is a community burial ground like any other. If local authorities oversee it, then it is possible,” says the association’s general manager, Rolf Lichtner.

Oh, and the project has been part of the official German contribution to the Venice Architectural Biennale that opened just recently. More on the Biennal incl. photos from the German pavilion tomorrow.

Sweden likes the Pyramid



When Sweden´s leading free daily METRO published a piece about the Great Pyramidin March, they asked their online readers to vote whether they would consider the Pyramid for themselves. We found the outcome quite impressive and made the screenshot above.

The Pyramid got a 52% Yes-response from Sweden. Sure, technically this is not a representative survey and the site didn´t say anything about the sample size, but since we received about 400 hits from Metro´s homepage, we guess 100% equals about a couple of dozens votes.

The Pyramid likes Sweden too..

Six, ten thousand, and eight

Last Monday night culminated in these three numbers when Ingo and I presented the Great Pyramid project at Kunsthochschule Kassel (Kassel Art School) upon invitation of Oliver Vogt, chair in industrial design there. Oliver on his part invited Philipp Oswalt, professor of architectural theory at the school, to join us on the panel to discuss the Pyramid with the fifty-or-so visitors that evening.



I first gave a thirty minute presentation; Oliver, Philipp and Ingo then reflected on a couple of issues before the mic was opened to the audience to voice their own thoughts and questions. It went as usual: Most introduced their statements/ questions with „I really think the Pyramid is a very cool/practical/amazing idea, though there´s a few things I would like to ask/mention ..“ We like people asking questions and sharing their own ideas. Thoughts and questions help us to understand what the Pyramid project actually could mean, since we ourselves try not to narrow down the Pyramid to have too particular meanings. It will be what all of us make of it, it´s a platform. Thank you everybody who came; it´s been truly inspiring.

At the subsequent dinner, Philipp raised quite some doubts. As a thought-provoking investigation into media culture, the Great Pyramid would be just great – but will it really, really work, he was worrying? We were a bit worried too, recollecting his panel contributions we might not have been able to grasp entirely. It may be these years of shrinkage discussions that turned Philipp into something very unlike us: a professional sceptic. He was founding head of Shrinking Cities, an acclaimed and very thorough research and exhibition project that investigated challenges and prospects of population-wise rapidly diminishing regions in various parts of the Western world. It may be an inclination towards theoretical instead of hands-on practical investigation and analysis as well. It may be none of that.

What we liked a lot about Philipp, however, was his longer-term perspective on things that provided us with the slightly enigmatic numbers in this post´s header. Philipp challenged us and we gladly accepted his bet: a six-bottles case of champagne if the Pyramid would not contain 10,000 stones eight years from now.

We were briefly considering whether lustily sparkling champagne might not be a bit inadequate – but as Ai Weiwei has worded it as well as squarely in his TGP competition entry: „Celebrate death as part of live!“ So, we rest assured and look forward to seeing the arrival of six inconspicuous bottles of Philipp´s choice before May 2016.

What, if we ourselves could make a selection instead? Krug? Cristal? We guess, we would settle for modest Piper Heidsieck Cuvée Brut or no more than Taittinger Brut Réserve.. – As in: Granite? Marble? Thanks, but no thanks – plain concrete will do just nicely..

Thanks Hermann Gnaedinger for the somewhat ghostlike, year-2002-style cell phone photo above. From left: Jens Thiel, Ingo Niermann, Philipp Oswalt, Oliver Vogt

Flashback: arch+ documenta Marathon 7/2007

Looking forward to presenting the Great Pyramid in Kassel tomorrow (cf. the second last post), we remembered we have been already to this sleepy town in the heartland of Germany that only awakes once every five years when the global art caravan flies in for the documenta show.

Back in July 2007 arch+ invited us to introduce the Great Pyramid at their documenta 12 mini-marathon. It´s somewhat funny to see the video now. Unlike today, we weren´t absolutely sure yet how this thing would really work .. But in any case this wasn´t meant to be a business presentation but a reflection on what can be thought and done, what opportunities actually exist to re-think things radically..


Ingo Niermann, clumsy and smart as usual, talking to Hans Ulrich Obrist and Rem Koolhaas.



Pages from arch+ 186/187

Click the images to see the video or read the transcription from the most recent arch+ issue. Apologies to our readers who prefer English – it´s all in German.

Eikonographia on the competition entries

Michiel van Raaij over at quite extensively reflects on the Great Pyramid architecture contest submissions from Hirsch/Lorch/MiessenAi Weiwei/FAKEAtelier Bow-Wow and MADA. Good thoughts you might want to read..

The Great Pyramid in Kassel



We will introduce the project at the Kassel Art Academy upon invitation of Oliver Vogt and Philipp Oswalt.

Another Video of Rem Koolhaas Gala Presentation



We had to take our video offline for technical reasons. Please refer to Fred Plassmann´s nicely shot and edited clip at - it´s somewhat shorter but you´ll get a good idea of the presentation. In there also some uncredited stills from the Great Pyramid documentary that will be out in cinemas later this year.

A Thousand Reservations



For the files: A thousand individuals from about 50 countries have made an unbinding reservation for a stone in The Great Pyramid as of yesterday. This number is growing by one or two dozens a day at the time. Thank you all!

Some Recent Press



The Great Pyramid made it into the BBC World Service TV news. With due hesitation the BBC notes the fact that nothing is being built yet but luckily avoided the „German pyramid“ punch unlike in last September´s radio coverage. We´re making some headway it seems..

Here´s the article and there the video we´ve sacrificially shot Monday morning on this wind-swept field near Streetz where Tristana, the BBC Berlin correspondent, managed to find the by far saddest looking view of the small town for her moderation.

The Great Pyramid also made it on the frontpages of Dutch daily De Pers and PolishDZIENNIK, was featured in German major national daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung (not online), was on 3sat Kulturzeit once more and has been covered by German national public radio Deutschlandfunk (listen or download). Thinking of all the image requests from print media we´ve replied to, we guess there´ll be a bit more out very soon..

Looking back at the Great Pyramid Gala


It´s been quite a night. Musical performances, presentations of previously unpublished aspects of The Great Pyramid and lots of interesting conversations at the aftershow. We know we could have done one or two things better but eventually everybody we talked to was most fascinated by the Gala event. It´s been an adequate closing of last years activities funded by the Federal Cultural Foundation of Germany. The Great Pyramid has finally evolved from a conceptual art project into a serious venture. We´re happy and also somewhat relieved that now everybody is convinced The Great Pyramid project will finally be implemented.

Before the show – The audience and a few TV teams

Presenting concepts for the Great Pyramid Park

Jury President Rem Koolhaas presenting the results of the architectural competition


The major news of the night were the submissions from our architectural competition and the announcement of an international location tender. The designs are being uploaded to the website, the location tender document will follow next week. Although some media still prefer to call it „the German pyramid“ we made it absolutely clear that the location is not yet defined. The Great Pyramid will need to be built in a place were it is welcomed by the region hosting it – but above all will have to follow the preferences of all the people who will make it part of their lifes and afterlifes. In simpler and more business-like terms: It will be built where it works for customers.

Thanks to Rem Koolhaas for coming to Berlin and presenting the competition results despite of an extremely tight schedule, to all the musicians, René for the zero budget stage decoration concept, Lars for implementing it, Christian von Werner for taking photos, Simon for filming the whole show and everybody at HAU for their most professional technical handling of the event.

For those who haven´t been able to attend the Gala we´ll make some simple, unedited video footage available later today or tomorrow.