The structure is comprised of a filigree central array of columns. Photo: The Cloud

Though still a few years off, an international team of artists, architects, and engineers, which includes MIT professor Carlo Ratti, recently released plans for a 400-ft tall spherical cloud structure that would rest atop long, thin towers and be a center-piece of the 2012 London Olympics.

Designers of the otherworldly “Cloud,” as the structure is called, hope to fund the project by soliciting millions of micro-donations. Ratti, who is the associate professor of  practice and director of MIT’s senseable city laboratory, told the BBC that the project was highly scalable: “We can build our Cloud with £5m or £50m. The flexibility of the structural system will allow us to tune the size of the Cloud to the level of funding that is reached,” he said in an interview. “It’s really about people coming together to raise the Cloud.”

People can choose to ascend to the Cloud by foot or bicycle. Photo: The Cloud

In addition to being both structural elements and habitable spaces, the spherical units that make up the Cloud could be used to display real-time information about the games, crowd sizes, and weather. The plans call for them to be constructed out of a plastic called Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE), which is the same material that was used to build the Beijing Aquatic Center.

London mayor Boris Johnson put the Cloud on a shortlist of potential tourist attractions to be built in the Olympic Park. According to the BBC, he is still deciding if it will be built.

Curious? Learn more by following the Cloud on Facebook and Twitter, or watch the YouTube video below: