Saturday, January 24, 2009
Posted by M D at 4:28 AM
33 year old Bryan Berg has been crowned the Guinness World Record Cardstacker holder at the Texas State Fair for a record-setting skyscraper standing 25 feet 9 7/16 inches tall — which took about a month to build — topping his previous world record of 25 feet 3 inches. The Iowa native, who lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, has been breaking world records for 15 years.
A self-taught artist, Berg uses no tape, glue, or other tricks in his work.
With 1,800 decks of ordinary freestanding playing cards, some scaffolding, and a hole in the ceiling, he worked for 5 weeks to complete the more than 25 foot tower — limited only by the height of the building he was working in and time.
This is the 3rd time Berg has been commissioned to break his own world record, the first of which he set in 1992 at the age of 17 before he even graduated school, with a tower 14 feet, 6 inches tall. In 2004, Guinness created a new record category for the World’s Largest House of Cards to recognize a project Berg built for Walt Disney World — a replica of Cinderella’s Castle.
“I like what I do.” Berg said. “This is no kind of torture or boredom for me.”
Trained as an architect, Berg says he’s the only person he knows of who is building card structures on a large scale publicly and making a living doing it.
In 2004, Berg earned his Master of Design Studies from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. He previously served as design faculty for 3 years in the Department of Architecture at Iowa State University, where he received his Professional Degree in Architecture in 1997.
While building card houses might not seem like a stable profession, Berg says he’d definitely take a pay cut as an architect. “I do well.” he says as he points out his job’s biggest perk — all the time off.
The ‘Cardstacker’ has devoted his career to building houses of playing cards including awe-inspiring card models of a Japanese shrine, the Iowa State Capitol building, and Ebbets Field. Touring regularly, Berg has stacked cards in virtually every major U.S. city and in Japan, Denmark, and Germany.
Berg’s clientele have included Walt Disney World, Star Wars, San Francisco Opera, Neopets / Wizards of the Coast, Fuji Television Japan, Post Cereal, Pinnacle Brands, Topps, Baseball Hall of Fame, DMG World Media, and Procter and Gamble.
Projects have also been produced with organizations such as Coca-Cola, Pepsi, American Airlines, Major League Baseball, and the National Hockey League.
Berg’s science museum projects for children have included San Francisco’s Exploratorium and Zeum, Science Museum of Minnesota, and Science Center of Iowa.
Berg says doesn’t randomly place cards to build his structures — he practices a very methodical system. He visualizes the structure and builds it using a type of repetitive geometry that resembles a honeycomb.
But geometry isn’t the only thing that keeps the card houses standing. Bryan says every 7 decks is a pound, and he uses 10 to 25 pounds a day. All that weight adds up. “You take all that mass, all that weight, and combine it with all that repetitive geometry, and you’re looking at something that’s incredibly strong.”
Despite his achievements, Berg may be the last person impressed with his card-stacking abilities.
“I’m actually a very clumsy person.” he says.
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