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Art Design

A Virtual Installation Immerses Viewers in a Reactive Environment of Shape-Shifting Architecture

September 20, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Medusa.” All images courtesy of London Design Festival, shared with permission

A landmark collaboration between Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto (previously) and Tin Drum, a production studio and technology developer, brings an undulating, reactive installation to the 2021 London Design Festival, but the immersive artwork is only viewable through a headset. Falling at the intersection of architecture and virtual reality, “Medusa” is comprised of monochromatic pillars that appear to suspend from the ceiling in a rippling environment. As viewers move through Raphael Court at the Victoria and Albert Museum where the work is on display, the responsive structure shifts and alters its composition in light and shape.

The work draws inspiration from the dynamic displays of the aurora borealis and underwater bioluminescence, two phenomena that manifest through the animated qualities and shifting patterns of Fujimoto’s curved forms. “This is the first time I am designing architecture with non-physical materials—it’s using light and pure expanse of the space,” he said in a statement. “It’s an architecture experience but completely new and different.”

“Medusa” is on view through September 26.

 

 

 



Design History Photography

Architectural Shots Frame the Stately Modern Designs of Churches Across Europe

August 25, 2021

Grace Ebert

Saint-Martin de Donges, France (Jean Dorian, 1957). All images © Thibaud Poirier, shared with permission

French photographer Thibaud Poirier continues his Sacred Spaces series by capturing the modern architecture of dozens of temples across Europe. Similar to earlier images, Poirier uses the same focal point of the front pulpit and pews in all of the photographs, allowing easy comparisons between the colors, motifs, and structural details of each location. “I selected these spaces for the use of original materials, modern for their time in sacred architecture, like steel, concrete, as well as large aluminum and glass panels,” he tells Colossal. Because travel has been limited due to COVID-19, Poirier has mostly visited 20th- and 21st-century churches in France, Germany, and the Netherlands for Sacred Spaces II, although he plans to expand his range in the coming months. Keep an eye out for those shots on Behance and Instagram.

 

Saint-Rémy de Baccarat, Baccarat, France (Nicolas Kazis, 1957)

St. Johann von Capistran, Munich, Germany (Sep Ruf, 1960)

United States Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel, Colorado Springs (Walter Netsch, 1962)

Saint Ignatius, Tokyo, Japan (Sakakura Associates, 1999)

Cathédrale de la Résurrection, Evry, France (Mario Botta, 1999)

Saint-Jacques-le-Majeur, Montrouge, France (Erik Bagge, 1940)

Notre-Dame-du-Travail, Paris, France (Jule-Godefroy Astruc, 1902)

 

 



Design

Evergreen Architecture: A New Book Explores Buildings That Place Nature at Their Core

August 18, 2021

Christopher Jobson

All images courtesy Gestalten, copyright respective photographers

The construction of sustainable and environmentally friendly structures for residential and commercial purposes is one of the more significant challenges of our time. As the built environment continues to encroach on natural habitats worldwide, architects have begun to alter their approach to constructing homes and offices, often taking the lead from nature itself. Evergreen Architecture: Overgrown Buildings and Greener Living, released last month by Gestalten, surveys a wide array of institutional, residential, rural, and urban structures that directly interface with their surrounding environments. The book explores completed projects and theoretical designs that utilize green roofs, vertical gardens, and skyscrapers that support hundreds of trees, many of which we’ve mentioned previously on Colossal. Evergreen Architecture is available now through Bookshop and Gestalten. (via A Daily Does of Architecture)

 

 

 



Craft Photography

Clever Paper Cutouts by Paperboyo Transform Architecture and Landmarks into Amusing Scenes

August 4, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Paperboyo, shared with permission

Rich McCor (aka Paperboyo) has a way of imagining the potential for quirkiness and whimsy in existing architecture. Using tourist attractions, landmarks, and urban settings as his backdrops, the Brighton-based artist and photographer (previously) dreams up amusing scenes that he fashions with precise angles and black paper cutouts: the Arc de Triomphe playfully morphs into a massive LEGO figure, an upside-down shot of Regent Street becomes a boat canal, and the King’s Place facade functions as individual swimming lanes. McCor tends to travel widely to photograph his temporary silhouettes, although he’s focused on local regions in recent months. The Netherlands, New York, and Taipei are next up on his list, so keep an eye on Instagram for dispatches from those spots and add one of the clever collages to your collection by picking up a print in the Paperboyo shop.

 

 

 



Art

Monumental Cardboard Bridges Float in the Sky in Temporary Installations by Olivier Grossetête

July 29, 2021

Grace Ebert

Architecture en Fête, Villeneuve lez Avignon, France (2015). All images © Olivier Grossetête, shared with permission

Temporarily seen hovering above small European towns or balancing on a river in floating canoes are elaborate bridges designed to be constructed and demolished in a matter of days. The ongoing work of Olivier Grossetête, the cardboard-and-tape pieces are entirely hand-built by the French artist and local residents. Each ephemeral installation, which Grossetête refers to as “utopian building(s), temporary and useless,” appears for only a day or two before it’s taken down and the public is asked to stomp on and destroy the cardboard. “This is an integral part of the project,” the artist says in a statement. “This symbolic moment is fun.” While they’re on display, the architectural works are often tethered between hot air balloons and existing buildings, which makes them appear dream-like as they float above the urban landscape.

Grossetête has been utilizing the cheap, flexible material for more than ten years because it’s easy to manipulate, allowing the installations to spring up and be removed relatively quickly. “Despite its appearance, it has quite extraordinary capacities and is very light. It doesn’t scare anyone, and it allows me to open my practice to the greatest number of people,” he says, explaining that it’s also emblematic of cultural signifiers. “It is the symbol of the false and of the appearance! I like to make this parallel between architecture, an instrument of power, and the false, the appearance.”

Currently living in Jausiers in the Alpes de Hautes Provences, Grossetête is headed to 23 Milhas in Ílhavo, Portugal for his next installation, which will be up from July 31 to August 1. You can explore more than a decade of his works on his site.

 

“Monkey Bridge,” Japanese Garden of Tattonpark Biennale

Mantuano/French Embassy in Rome

Festival de l’Oh, Champigny, France (2015)

Mantuano/French Embassy in Rome

Pont Landerneau, France (2016)

Amboise, France Cultural Season of Amboise

 

 



Photography

Precise Compositions by Daniel Rueda and Anna Devís Turn Architecture into Playful Portraits

July 22, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Daniel Rueda and Anna Devís, shared with permission

Valencia-based duo Anna Devís and Daniel Rueda (previously) add a playful twist to mundane settings and architectural backdrops. Whether flaring a skirt into a wide, cheesy grin, posing to prop up a facade’s stripes, or gripping the tail of a balloon that looks like a tethered sun, their minimal compositions turn geometric elements and open spaces into theatrical sets ripe with humor and joy.

Devís tells Colossal that each narrative-driven image is the result of extensive planning that begins with an initial sketch, involves pairing a concept and location, and later constructing the props. They don’t use any photo-editing software, meaning that every shot is precisely composed on-site with natural lighting, a process she explains:

We carefully set the stage in real life using all sorts of everyday objects, colorful papers, matching outfits, and tons of natural light. At first glance, one would probably think that most of our images are not very difficult to capture because of their modest appearance. But, with the passing years, we’ve learned that achieving this level of simplicity is really, really complicated.

In the coming months, the duo plans to travel to various locales for photoshoots— “there are a lot of beautiful spaces where we’d love to tell a story, but we haven’t figured it out yet,” Devís says—and are in the process of working on a forthcoming book and a few exhibitions. You can find an extensive archive on both Devís’s and Rueda’s Instagrams, and buy prints on their site.

 

 

 

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