8 Famous Landmarks Built With Cards

From the Empire State Building to Cinderella's Castle, professional "cardstacker" Bryan Berg is famous for building well-known buildings out of thousands and thousands of playing cards.

By: Mina Hochberg

Photo By: Bryan Berg

Photo By: Bryan Berg

Photo By: Bryan Berg

Photo By: Bryan Berg

Photo By: Bryan Berg

Photo By: Bryan Berg

Photo By: Bryan Berg

Photo By: Bryan Berg

Iowa State Capitol

The rotunda of the Iowa State Capitol rises above Bryan Berg's head. Berg was raised in Iowa and holds a degree in architecture from Iowa State University. He currently lives in Santa Fe, N.M.

Beijing Olympic Village

Berg spent three weeks building this replica of the Beijing Olympic Village for the 2008 summer Olympics. It's composed of various Beijing landmarks, including the Bird's Nest Stadium, "Water Cube" aquatic center and CCTV Tower. The Bird's Nest's architecture — oval, with outwardly slanted columns — proved especially challenging for Berg.

World's Tallest House of Cards

At 26 feet high, this 55,000-card building is Berg's tallest card creation. In order to build his taller structures, he works on scaffolding and ladders.

Cinderella's Castle

Berg replicated Disney World's Cinderella's Castle in 2004. Composed of 3,000 decks of cards, the castle is 14 feet high with a base of 14 square feet. Berg's larger projects carry a mass of hundreds of pounds — as Berg will point out, seven decks of cards weigh approximately one pound — and support over 660 pounds per square foot. His structures are so sturdy, Berg often needs a leaf blower to tear them down.

Dallas Skyline

Berg built the Dallas skyline over the course of four weeks in 2006. He uses Cartamundi's Ace Brand and the U.S. Playing Card Company's Pla-mor cards, though he's also been known to take on more unusual building materials like chocolate and candy (for a Harry Potter castle).

New York City Landmarks

It took two weeks for Berg to replicate the Chrysler Building, Empire State Building, Flatiron Building, Yankee Stadium and other buildings from New York City's skyline. To demonstrate the strength of his card structures, Berg sometimes places concrete blocks or bricks on top of them.


The Hagia Sophia is the centerpiece of this ode to Istanbul tourist hot spots, which also includes the Galata Tower and Maiden Tower. Berg uses a "grid" technique for his structures, in which four-walled cells come together to form a "waffle" or "honeycomb" pattern. He invented this technique by studying images in nature as well as microscopic plant cell patterns.

Venetian Macao Resort Hotel

Berg holds the record for largest free-standing card structure in the world — and this is the project that earned him that title. The Venetian Macao Resort Hotel took 44 days to build. Berg used 219,000 cards, equal to 4,000 decks. It's 34 feet long by 11 feet wide, and stands nine feet tall.

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