The truth is we probably all need to stretch our legs out more. But walking sometimes can feel dull. These days though, we have options. We can pretend we’re on an epic quest to Mordor. We can catch Pokémon. Or for some lucky people in South Korea, walking can become a thrill ride of its own. In news we first saw on DesignTAXI, German artists Heike Mutter and Ulrich Genth have built a windy, wild roller coaster structure that you can actually walk. This walkable roller coaster, called “SpaceWalk,” lives in Hwanho Park in Pohang, South Korea.
The SpaceWalk’s official website shares, “This 333-metre-long, gleaming silver track looks like a rollercoaster when seen from a distance. Seen at closer quarters, it reveals itself to be a winding stair, curving through space in spectacular undulations.” According to DesignTAXI, the structure makes up “the largest contemporary public artwork” in South Korea. And honestly, we don’t question that because we couldn’t imagine one that goes any higher. Meanwhile, Colossal adds that the SpaceWalk consists of “galvanized and stainless steels atop a cement foundation and embedded rows of LED lights.” The steel creates its sloping features and the light makes it shine brightly when the sun goes down, like some fantastical creature.
Mutter and Genth share: “At night, in particular, the brightly-illuminated walkway appears like a sigil drawn in the sky, appearing to represent different things depending on where one is standing. Thus, the sculpture also references local mythology and a tradition of sky-gazing and also makes playful use of relativity.”
We can imagine SpaceWalk is one of those creations that would take your breath away if you saw it up-close. It seems like something out of a sci-fi novel. A relic from a world beyond our own. And, of course, we can’t begin to process what it would feel like to actually climb those steps into the sky. But climb them you can. The sculpture has two walkways. One that slopes more gently and offers a view of Yeongil Bay. And a second walkway that offers a bit of a steeper climb through a helix. From a distance, this helix appears to create a perfect circle. Both walkways come together to form a central loop that cannot be walked.
The artists further share, “The title ‘SpaceWalk’ is taken from the terminology of outer space missions. It describes the act of exiting the space vehicle in the weightlessness of outer space. More literally, ‘SpaceWalk’ can be understood to mean ‘a walk through space.”
All in all, this walkable roller coaster staircase perfectly captures an air of mystery. It seems not to belong to this world and creates a kind of liminal space. Not quite a cursed object, but definitely an arcane one, otherworldly in the best way. We can’t promise you won’t end up in another realm if you climb aboard.