Like the remains of a long lost human civilization, this formidable structure in the remote plains of El Gouna, Egypt extends over one million square feet in the Sahara Desert. It's so big that you can see it from space—like some sort of stargate ready for an alien invasion.
But, despite its appearances, the structure wasn't built eons ago. Its name is Desert Breath and it was finished in 1997 by the D.A.ST. Arteam, composed by Danae Stratou (installation artist), Alexandra Stratou (industrial designer & architect), Stella Constantinides (architect). In their own words:
Desert Breath expands in an area of 100.000 m2, in the eastern Sahara desert bordering the Red Sea in El Gouna, Egypt. It is a site-specific work that generated out of our perception of the site itself. Its construction consists of the displacement of 8.000 m3 of sand formed so as to create precise positive and negative conical volumes. The conical volumes form two interlocking spirals that move out from a common centre with a phase difference of 180o degrees in the same direction of rotation. The centre is a 30-metre diameter vessel formed in a W-shaped section and filled with water to its rim.
Located between the sea and a body of mountains at the point where the immensity of the sea meets the immensity of the desert, the work functions on two different levels in terms of viewpoint: from above as a visual image, and from the ground, walking the spiral pathway, a physical experience.
Desert Breath has been slowly disintegrating since the moment they finished it, but it's still visible via Google Maps.
Here are some closer shots:
This is the central pit before being filled up with water.
And a short documentary about its genesis: