This week’s post is a companion piece to “Powerful Verticality.” The photos in this post have the same theme of verticality except that they are not dramatic nature images. Most of the subjects in these photos are people experiencing the power of verticality firsthand. I have also included a few other unusual examples of verticality in this post.
This picture sparked my interest in finding out more about human towers. Unfortunately, there is no English photo description available for this image. The photographer is unknown.
See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Date: 2 February 2014
In Catalonia, Spain, building human towers is a tradition that reaches back to the end of the 18th century. In this part of the world, a human tower is called a castell. A castell consists of people called castellers who form the pinya or base layer of the human tower and additional castellers who form the upper levels of the human tower. Each level of the castell has its own name, and there are also specific names for the number of people within each level. Here is an excerpt of the elaborate castell naming system from Wikipedia:
Common terms indicating the number of people for each level of a tower:
- Pilar (Eng. “pillar”): one person per level
- Torre (“tower”): two people per level
- Tres : three people per level
- Quatre : four people per level
- Cinc : five people per level
Numbers of levels most commonly built:
- Sis : six levels high
- Set : seven levels
- Vuit : eight levels
- Nou : nine levels
- Deu : ten levels
Besides having their own castell naming system, castellers have their own dress code and motto. Wikipedia notes that castellers typically wear an outfit consisting of “white trousers, a black sash, a bandana and a coloured shirt often bearing the team’s emblem.” The black sash is practical as well as decorative because “it supports the lower back and is used by other castellers in the team as a foothold or handhold when climbing up the tower.” Castellers also have a fitting motto: “Força, equilibri, valor i seny” (Strength, balance, courage and common sense).
Source: “Castell” — Wikipedia
Found behind a cathedral in Barcelona, Spain.
The men at the bottom are like flying buttresses, holding up a growing tower of people, culminating with two young girls in a crash helmets preparing to stand at the top.
Here’s a video of the build, just one of the many colorful celebrations of Catalan culture spilling into the streets and squares.
(I am looking forward to pouring through the photo backlog and sharing some of the trip highlights)
Date: 16 June 2007, 10:20
Source: Catalan Climbers
Note: The church behind is not the Cathedral. It’s Santa Maria del Mar. See Image:Santa Maria del Mar 3.jpg. And the human tower is a “2 de 8 amb folre” made by the Colla Vella dels Xiquets de Valls
4d8 baixa ll09.jpg
By Montserrat Torres https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:4d8_baixa_ll09.jpg
(Editor’s Note: An English photo description is not available.)
Català: 4 de 8 dels Castellers de la Vila de Gràcia a Lleida
Date: 24 October 2009
Source: Castellers de la Vila de Gràcia
7de8 Castellers de Vilafranca fires maig 2012.jpg
Human tower called 7de8. It was done at “fires de maig” in Vilafranca del Penedès, Catalonia.
Date: 20 May 2012
Source: Own work
My celebration of being high in the sky continues with these fun photos of large vertical leaps.
The Leap of Faith.jpg
Leap of Faith flip
Date: 4 November 2012, 13:23:49
Source: Own work
Asian carp (6887439853).jpg
At Big Muddy National Fish & Wildlife Refuge in Missouri, an invasive Asian carp leaps high out of the water to escape biologists’ nets. (Steve Hillebrand/USFWS)
Date: 13 July 2009, 13:54
Source: Asian carp
- Uploaded by Dolovis
In addition to inspiring my search for human towers and large leaps, thinking about verticality made me think about things that are upside down. This train of thought eventually led me to discover the existence of houses that are intentionally constructed upside down. The reasons for building these houses vary. Some were built as interesting theme park attractions, while others were built as unusual museum exhibits. There are quite a few upside-down houses across the world in countries such as Poland, Canada, Spain, Germany, Russia, and the United States.
An ‘upside-down house’ in open-air museum, Szybmark, Poland..jpg
An ‘upside-down house’ in an open-air museum (The Education and Region Promotion Centre) in Szybmark, northern Poland. The interior of the two-floor building (furniture, stairs, objects) is set upside-down as well, ie. is glued to the ceiling. Persons with inner-ear or balance disabilities are discouraged from entering the structure.
Date: 25 September 2008
Source: Photograph by Tomasz Sienicki
Device to Root out Evil.jpg
Device to Root Out Evil (1997)
Galvanized structural steel, anodized perforated aluminum, transparent red Venetian glass, concrete foundations
25′ H x 15′ W x 12′ D
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Photo by Thom Quine
Building that looks like upside-down White House, Batumi.JPG
Building that looks like upside-down. White House, Batumi
Date: 22 November 2012, 11:41:50
Source: Own work
Source: “Batumi” — Wikipedia
Wisconsin Dells – Top Secret.jpg
By Leprechauns at en.wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
An upside down white house ‘Top Secret’ in Wisconsin Dells, WI
Date: 2007; 17 January 2008 (original upload date)
Source: Own work: self-made
Transferred from en.wikipedia by SreeBot
If you would like to see more upside-down houses, weburbanist.com has a great online article about them called “Flip This Home! 10 Unbelievable Upside Down Houses”.