Biotopological Scale-Juggling Escalator

160 Lexington Avenue, New York

Commissioned by the fashion designer Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garcons for Dover Street Market – New York, the Biotopological Scale-Juggling Escalator is a scaled model version of the Reversible Destiny Lifespan Extending Module. The module is a home developed by Arakawa and Gins that is characterized by a large central space surrounded by, and linked to, four individual rooms.

Tilted to connect two floors within the store, the Biotopological Scale-Juggling Escalator’s main central space functions as a staircase. The installation’s bulbous exterior, painted mostly in a soft white appears anatomical in form. The interior walls of the structure begin with a deep purple and magenta at its base that gradate in lightness towards the ceiling. The steps, edged with uneven rammed yellow earth, are made from different colored stone and lined by two pairs of interweaving handrails. On either side of the steps are scaled models of four rooms or ‘wings’ of the Reversible Destiny Lifespan Extending Module. Two penetrate the walls of the structure, another is set into it in profile, and a fourth balances on the terrain floor. Each contains a figure to present them as places to be inhabited and explored.

Realized by Madeline Gins in 2013, this work of ‘procedural architecture’ operates against the aging process by triggering cognitive understanding via multiple scales, gradient colors, diagonal symmetry, two pairs of serpentine-like handrails, and different colored staircase stone steps. In walking up or down what Gins termed as an escalator, a person’s encounter with the space allows for his or her body to increase its awareness of and relationship to the overall architectural experience.


• Completed in 2013

• Size: Approx. 20 ft x 10 ft – 6.1 m x 3 m

• Program: Permanent Installation

• Location: 160 Lexington Avenue, New York NY