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4,000 Decks of Cards Form This Jaw-Dropping Architecture

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Raised on a family farm in rural Iowa, Bryan Berg went on to earn a Bachelor's of Architecture from Iowa State and a Master's of Design Studies from Harvard. He now zips around the globe at clients' behest—just this week he was flown to Sydney for an event put on by Virgin Australia. The catch: he's no architect or designer. He's a cardstacker. In fact, Berg earned his first world record when he was a senior in high school—"Just the beginning," he writes—and has since trumped himself time and time again, most recently capturing the Guinness World Record for largest playing card house with an architectural complex (above right) that took almost two months and 4,000 decks of playing cards to build. He's crafted Cinderella's castle, (above left), the dome of the Iowa Capitol, NYC's Flatiron building, Beijing's Bird's Nest, and more, all without bending, folding, or gluing any of the pieces, and most constructed in front of an audience. "There are the viewers who think I must have hands of steel and a Ph.D. in structural engineering, and there are those who think I must not have finished high school and live in a van down by the river," he writes. "I always enjoy watching people watch me work."

? How does he do it? With a stable, time-consuming grid system that can support up to 660 pounds per square foot. Take it away, card dude:

Mass and geometry combine in my constructions to form what is a bit of an illusion because that many cards, stacked in such an organized way, act more like a brick house and less like a card house. It takes lots of force to knock the largest of projects down, and only the uppermost portions of each structure are fragile because while they have lots of structural geometry, they simply don't have the mass to resist external forces.

? Unlike many other fastidious replica makers, Berg considers destruction part of the process. Because his structures are so dense, he uses a leafblower to knock them down.

? In 2005, Berg took two weeks to construct a miniature NYC skyline in Times Square. Included: the Chrysler building, Empire State Building, Flatiron Building, and Yankee Stadium. According to his official site, the project was featured at the beginning of Good Morning America every day for 14 days, the longest time any subject has ever received continuous coverage.

? Berg took 10 days to build this city skyline, made of 22,000 recycled gift cards.

· Bryan Berg, the Cardstacker [official site via Inspiration Feed]
· All Artistry posts. [Curbed National]