Dezeen Magazine

Matthew Mazzotta's Cloud House receives a rain shower when occupied

A cloud hanging over this shed-like pavilion in Missouri rains onto the roof whenever someone sits inside.

The aptly named Cloud House was created by artist Matthew Mazzotta, and is installed at Farmer's Park in Springfield.

Cloud House by Matthew Mazzotta

The structure is built from reclaimed wood in the form of a typical gabled profile, with its two ends completely open.

A cloud-shaped element made in resin sits over the corrugated metal roof, supported by a pipe.

When a person sits on one of the two rocking chairs under the shelter, pressure sensors in the floor are activated.

They trigger pumps to transport water from an underground storage tank up into the cloud, which releases the liquid through tiny holes to simulate rain.

Cloud House by Matthew Mazzotta

Those inside can hear the "warm pleasant sound" of the drops hitting the tin roof, and watch the water permeate through the window lintels to feed plants growing in the sills.

The roof has hidden gutters that collect real rainwater, which is funnelled down through the walls to the tank so it gets constantly recycled.

Cloud House by Matthew Mazzotta

"Any water that hits the roof – from either natural rain from the sky or rain that has been harvested into the storage tank, and then brought back up to the cloud again – will be collected in the gutters hidden in the eaves of the roof," Mazzotta told Dezeen.

"It is a very concealed system," he added.

Cloud House by Matthew Mazzotta

However, during extended dry spells when the tank doesn't get refilled, the artificial cloud will also not rain.

To construct the house, cladding materials were reclaimed from a nearby abandoned farm by a group of Amish builders.

Cloud House by Matthew Mazzotta

The cloud was created from a three-dimensional image file produced by scanning a maquette, then sculpted from EPS foam using a seven-axis robotic arm.

Seventeen parts were assembled around an aluminium armature, before being seamed and hardened with acrylic resin.

Cloud House by Matthew Mazzotta

An American artist and MIT graduate, Mazzotta has gained recognition for his whimsical kinetic installations, like a house in Alabama that folded open to provide seating for an open-air performance space.

Others that have used precipitation as references in their installations include Micasa LAB, which designed a weather-forecasting lamp that forms an indoor cloud to warn of grey skies outside, and rAndom International – the studio behind the popular Rain Room that has found a permanent home at LACMA.